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EEOC's Charge Data System Contains Errors But System Satisfies Users

IMTEC-90-5: Published: Dec 12, 1989. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) Charge Data System (CDS), focusing on whether: (1) EEOC was receiving accurate and complete data from CDS for administering and enforcing the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; and (2) CDS errors caused any age discrimination complaints to exceed the legislation's statute of limitations.

GAO found that: (1) an estimated 4.1 to 12.6 percent of CDS mandatory data fields in eight EEOC office files were erroneous, out-of-date, or missing, because EEOC inadequately verified the accuracy or completeness of data or failed to update the databases; (2) seven of the eight CDS inventories it reviewed did not coincide with the physical inventories, because EEOC either misclassified cases or gave them an incorrect status; and (3) although CDS errors affected reporting accuracy, they did not adversely impact age discrimination investigations or affect the statute of limitations for cases under investigation.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EEOC established a 0.5 percent standard for CDS data accuracy and a 5 percent standard for data completeness. It automated reports to identify data discrepancies, policies, and procedures compliance with the standards and ensure corrections and periodic database accuracy certifications by managers. EEOC tightened procedures over initial data entry and transfers of cases between offices.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, EEOC, should establish an accuracy standard for CDS databases and procedures for ensuring compliance with this standard. In doing this, the Chairman should: (1) determine the agency requirement for data accuracy, that is, the level of errors above which the EEOC mission is adversely affected; and (2) the costs and benefits of maintaining this standard.

    Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


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