Capitol Correspondence - 07.15.19

Congress Inquires About EEOC Evaluation Process for Discrimination Claims

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ANCOR is sharing this item by Bloomberg Government because many complaints about violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are processed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This enforcement agency also processes many work discrimination claims, making it important to the disability community.

As written by Bloomberg Government:

“The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s system for prioritizing workplace harassment and discrimination investigations has grabbed the attention of Congress after a union complained that agency workers are pressured to quickly process cases without thoroughly examining certain claims.

Lawmakers requested that the commission submit a report to the House Appropriations Committee ‘documenting any formal or informal quotas’ the EEOC has used for handling bias charges in fiscal years 2018 and 2019, as well as any projected quotas for fiscal year 2020. The request was made in the committee’s budget report for the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies issued late last month. The EEOC is one of several agencies covered under the budget bill (H.R. 3055), which was passed by the House on June 25.

The issue is the EEOC’s backlog of still-to-be-investigated complaints and the required classification system used by its workers to prioritize them, according to a staffer for Rep. Jose E. Serrano (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. The system, referred to by the agency as its ‘priority charge handling processing,’ requires complaints to be classified as A, B, or C. The ‘A’ charges are those considered a priority for the agency, based on an initial evaluation of the claims, while ‘C’ charges are those that can be dismissed outright.

‘Employees are hounded to categorize more cases as ‘C,’’ during the initial evaluation, Rachel Shonfield, first vice president for the National Council of EEOC Locals No. 216, said. ‘Our workforce is declining. This is a way to move through cases without doing substantive processing.’”

EEOC employees are concerned that members of the public filing charges are the ones who will be shorted if cases aren’t properly reviewed, Shonfield said.”

While we are on the topic of the EEOC: President Trump has nominated Keith Sonderling and Charlotte Burrows to fill vacancies on the EEOC. They will each fill out the remainder of five-year terms. We share this because it is important for our members to keep track of key policy-makers in the federal government.