Discrimination Complaints:

Payments to Employees by Federal Agencies and the Judgement Fund

HRD-89-141: Published: Sep 25, 1989. Publicly Released: Oct 25, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal agencies' corrective actions in resolving employment discrimination complaints, focusing on: (1) whether policies on settling discrimination complaints differed among agencies; (2) whether agencies collected data on agency and Judgement Fund payments; and (3) the magnitude of the payments.

GAO found that: (1) monetary payments resulting from discrimination cases come from the agency's appropriation, or from the Judgement Fund when cases go beyond administrative procedures; (2) the Judgement Fund paid $6.5 million for 144 discrimination complaint cases in 1987 and $12 million for 156 cases in 1988; (3) although each of the three agencies reviewed compiled data on discrimination payments differently, none had overall cost figures for both administrative and court cases because they all closed discrimination complaint cases after completion of the administrative procedures; (4) the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) annually collected data on discrimination complaints from all federal agencies, but did not compile, analyze, or publish data on the monetary payments it collected; (5) because of concerns about agency backlogs of discrimination complaints, EEOC changed the reporting requirements from annual to semiannual, assigned staff to review agency reports and resolve any discrepancies, and revised the reporting form; (6) EEOC was not as concerned about agency equal employment opportunity offices' reporting payment data as it was about their timely resolution of the complaints; and (7) the total paid in court cases and administrative cases was unknown, since agencies did not report some payments on the reporting form and not all court-ordered payments came from the Judgement Fund.

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