Report: Discrimination Complaints against Government Slightly Up

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released its Annual Report on the Federal Work Force for Fiscal Year 2008, which shows small increases in discrimination complaint filings against federal agencies and an average complaint processing time government-wide.

The report informs and advises the president and Congress on the state of equal employment opportunity throughout the federal government each year. Data in the report, available online at www.eeoc.gov/federal/fsp2008/index.html, are presented both in individual agency profiles and in government-wide aggregate form.

According to the report, 16,752 complaints alleging employment discrimination were filed against the federal government in FY 2008--up 2.4 percent from the prior year. EEO complaints were filed against agencies on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, and reprisal. Pre-complaint counseling and alternative dispute resolution programs addressed many employee concerns before they resulted in formal EEO complaints. Of the 38,898 instances of counseling in FY 2008, more than half did not result in a formal complaint being filed.

Agencies completed a total of 11,157 EEO complaint investigations in FY 2008 with an average processing time of 180 days, an increase of four days from FY 2007. Of the 7,538 cases closed on the merits, 2.5 percent resulted in findings of unlawful discrimination. In addition, the parties entered into settlements in 3,249 complaints, or 19.5 percent of the total complaint closures. Agencies paid out a total of more than $50 million in monetary benefits to complainants (including appellate decisions).

"Federal agencies must step up their efforts to improve complaint processing time, while also focusing on quality results," said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. "The Commission continues to assist agencies in creating model EEO programs and implementing best practices to promote an inclusive, discrimination-free federal workplace."

The federal government is the nation's largest employer with nearly 2.7 million employees across the country and around the world in FY 2008. EEOC notes that over the past decade, there have been subtle changes in the composition of the federal work force, one of the most diverse in the nation. Overall, the participation rates of women, Hispanic or Latinos, and Asians have slightly increased; however, the number of people with targeted disabilities continues to decline and remains below 1 percent of the total work force.

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