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Highlights

Minority employees at the EPA reported for a number of years that the agency had discriminated against them based on their race and retaliated against them for filing complaints. These issues were aired at hearings held by the House Committee on Science at which EPA said it would take actions to ensure a fair and discrimination free workplace. GAO was asked to review (1) the accuracy of EPA's equal employment opportunity (EEO) data, (2) various issues about the processes used to resolve discrimination complaints, and (3) the disciplinary actions taken for managers who discriminate.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Environmental Protection Agency The EPA Administrator should direct that the Office of Civil Rights evaluate its new EEO software system to ensure it resulted in a reliable system for tracking cases and accumulating accountability data for EEOC.
Closed - Implemented
GAO recommended that EPA's Office of Civil Rights evaluate its new software system to ensure it results in a reliable system for tracking cases and accumulating accountability data. EPA has procured and implemented a new software system in an effort to facilitate accurate case tracking and reporting of EEO information.
Environmental Protection Agency In addition, the Administrator should direct that the draft standard operating procedures for handling EEO complaints be finalized.
Closed - Implemented
This recommendation is closed based on a letter from EPA's Director of the Office of Civil Rights on August 24, 2006, indicating that standard operating procedures were sent out to the EPA regions in May 2004 and a revised version issued in May 2005 to provide standard concepts and procedures to all Office of Civil Rights staff and others involved in the complaint process.
Environmental Protection Agency The Administrator should also direct that a process be developed that assesses every case in which discrimination is found or allegations of discrimination are settled to determine whether managers, or other employees, should be disciplined.
Closed - Implemented
GAO recommended that EPA develop a process to assess all cases in which discrimination is found or allegations of discrimination are settled to determine whether managers or others other employees should be disciplined. EPA has taken steps resulting in compliance with NOFEAR ACT that will require EPA to begin accumulating and tracking disciplinary information.

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