Burgeoning Workload Calls for New Approaches

T-HEHS-95-170: Published: May 23, 1995. Publicly Released: May 23, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) mission, budget, and workload. GAO noted that: (1) EEOC has the authority to investigate and resolve meritorious employment discrimination complaints in the private sector; (2) in fiscal year (FY) 1995, EEOC plans to use more than 80 percent of its $233 million budget and about 90 percent of its personnel to enforce federal employment laws; (3) EEOC also oversees and reimburses state fair employment practices agencies which enforce state and local employment laws and coordinates with other federal agencies that enforce equal employment opportunity; (4) the EEOC workload has increased dramatically mainly due to the public's greater awareness of employment rights and discrimination and the increase in antidiscrimination laws; (5) EEOC backlogged cases increased 33 percent from FY 1993 to FY 1994; (6) although EEOC needs a significant increase in personnel to handle its burgeoning workload, economic realities make a substantial staff increase unlikely; (7) to streamline EEOC procedures, the new chairman has discontinued the long-standing EEOC practice of fully investigating every charge in favor of targeting investigative resources to cases with stronger evidence of discrimination under a new national enforcement plan; (8) EEOC will initiate voluntary alternative dispute resolution procedures in October 1995; and (9) EEOC needs to consider further changes in its procedures and mission in order to process employment discrimination complaints in a timely manner.

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