U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was established by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and began operating on July 2, 1965. The EEOC enforces the following federal statutes:
The Commission interprets employment discrimination laws, monitors the federal sector equal employment opportunity program, and provides funding and support to state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs) and Tribal Employment Rights Organizations (TEROs). Additionally, the EEOC sponsors outreach and technical assistance programs that advise individuals and employees of their rights and responsibilities under the law.
Any individual who believes that he or she has experienced discrimination in employment may file a charge with the EEOC in any of its field offices. After investigating the charge, the EEOC determines whether there is "reasonable cause" to believe discrimination has occurred. If "reasonable cause" is found, the EEOC attempts to conciliate the charge by reaching a voluntary resolution between the charging party and the respondent. If conciliation is not successful, the Commission may bring a lawsuit in federal court to remedy the employment discrimination. As part of the administrative process, the EEOC may also issue a Right-to-Sue-Notice to the charging party, allowing the charging party to file an individual action in court.
The EEOC also offers mediation as an alternative means of dispute resolution. Rather than initially going through the traditional charge investigation process, the parties may first elect to resolve the charge voluntarily with the help of a neutral mediator.
The EEOC's federal program differs significantly from its private sector enforcement program and procedures. By contrast to the private sector, in the federal sector individuals file EEO complaints with their own agency employers and the agency conducts the initial investigation of the complaint. Subsequent to the agency investigation, the complainant may request a hearing with an EEOC Administrative Judge. In the hearing, the EEOC Administrative Judge develops a full and appropriate record, adjudicates the claims of discrimination, and issues decisions. If dissatisfied with the Administrative Judge's decision, either the complainant or the federal agency may file an appeal with the EEOC. Relief ordered in a final EEOC decision is mandatory and binding on the agency employer, except in limited circumstances. If dissatisfied with the outcome of a hearing or an appeal, a federal sector complainant, like a private sector charging party, may file a lawsuit in federal court to resolve the claims of discrimination.
The promise of equal opportunity is a legal right afforded to all of our Nation's workers and job applicants, and is woven into the fabric of the American dream. Since its inception in 1965, the EEOC has helped make this promise a reality. Equal opportunity in the workplace is a matter of social justice and a national economic imperative in the United States. Our Nation plays a leading role in today's global marketplace. To continue that role, we must make full use of the Nation's human capital by promoting workplace practices that allow all workers to achieve their highest potential.
Updating our strategic approach is a continually evolving challenge for EEOC. Technological advancements, economic shifts, heightened security alerts, the globalization of world markets, and profound demographic shifts are reshaping the workplace in the United States. Researchers forecast an increasingly diverse workforce. Ethnic and racial minority groups will continue to grow as a proportion of the workforce. Some of the challenges of serving a multi-ethnic workforce were highlighted by a poll conducted by the Gallup Organization last year. According to those surveyed, 31% of Asians, 26% of African Americans, 18% of Hispanics, 12% of individuals with disabilities, 22% of women, and 17% of persons 40 years of age or over believed that they had been subjected to employment discrimination within the previous year. Promotion, pay, hiring, and general treatment, including harassment, were the four most common discrimination issues reported by survey respondents.
These numbers tell us that we must continue to target and enhance the EEOC's outreach, including those traditionally underserved communities whose culture or experience may not encourage complaints of discrimination. They also tell us that much work remains to be done before the promise of equal opportunity becomes a reality, and that many Americans will continue to rely on the EEOC.
This Strategic Plan provides the roadmap for the agency to position itself for the future. The Strategic Plan has one Strategic Objective (Justice, Opportunity and Inclusive Workplaces) and one Management Objective (Organizational Excellence), based on the agency's vision, mission and Five-Point Plan. The Five-Point Plan builds upon what the agency has accomplished to improve its operations. It seeks to broaden the agency's reach by increasing proactive measures to prevent discrimination; resolving claims of discrimination more proficiently; expanding alternative dispute resolution; developing a more strategic focus in our enforcement, litigation and federal programs; and, enhancing the agency's internal operations. Our Strategic Plan also incorporates other key initiatives, including the President's New Freedom Initiative, the EEOC's Freedom to Compete Initiative, our Youth@Work Initiative, and our Systemic Initiative.
In this Plan, we describe the Strategic and Management Objectives and their relationship to the Five-Point Plan, expected long-term outcomes, and annual performance measures. All of our measures demonstrate in a concrete way the EEOC's impact on creating fair and inclusive workplaces across the United States. The following chart demonstrates how the Strategic Plan flows - from our Strategic and Management Objectives through our Long-Term Performance Measures to our Annual Performance Measures.
The EEOC is the Nation's primary enforcer of the civil rights employment laws, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, color, religion, sex, age, and disability. The agency was created in 1965 for the purposes of handling charges of discrimination and securing relief for victims of discrimination. The public continues to rely on the Commission to carry out these fundamental responsibilities and bring justice and opportunity to the workplace. Our fight against discrimination goes beyond enforcing the law. The best way to combat workplace discrimination is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Educating employers and workers about their rights and responsibilities under the law is the first step toward promoting an inclusive workplace, where all workers are judged on their talents and abilities without regard to any protected characteristic.
All of the EEOC's major programs and activities - from educating our Nation's youth on their rights and responsibilities as they enter the workforce to investigating and litigating complaints of systemic discrimination - are done in the service of four shared goals:
To measure our ability to achieve these outcomes, our strategic plan is focused on extending the reach of our enforcement and outreach programs and enhancing confidence in our ability to resolve charges of discrimination in a timely, accurate, and consistent manner. We will measure our success by assessing the number of individuals benefited from our enforcement and outreach programs and by assessing the public's confidence in our enforcement of the laws.
|Long-Term Measure 1||By FY 2012, the number of individuals benefiting from EEOC's enforcement and outreach programs increases by TBD%*.|
|Annual Measure 1.1||By FY 2012, the number of individuals benefiting from improvements to organizations' policies, practices or procedures, because of the EEOC's enforcement programs increases by TBD%.|
|Annual Measure 1.2||By FY 2012, the number of individuals benefiting from improvements to organizations' policies, practices or procedures because of EEOC's outreach programs increases by TBD%.|
*TBD = To Be Determined
We believe it is important to measure our success by looking beyond the monetary and equitable relief we secure through our enforcement actions. Our long-term and annual measures focus on tracking the improvements that are made in the workplace as a direct result of both our enforcement and outreach programs. We selected these measures because, when we secure changes in employment policies, practices and procedures through our enforcement or outreach programs, we have a positive impact not only on the immediate victims of discrimination, but also on all individuals in the affected workplace. Through organization-wide changes, individuals benefit from a more inclusive workplace and have greater opportunities to compete on a level playing field.
These measures include all services we provide to the public that result in workplace benefits: outreach and technical assistance (in both private and federal sectors), administrative resolutions (including mediation), litigation resolutions, and federal sector hearings and appeals. Beginning in FY 2005, we began collecting data on the number of individuals benefited through private sector enforcement and mediation charges, so we have limited trend data on the number of individuals benefited by these two programs. Our first priorities will be to establish a methodology and baseline data for the remaining programs. This data is necessary for us to establish targets for the long-term measure and the associated annual performance measures.
The two annual measures are linked to the long-term goal and to the EEOC's Five-Point Plan. Annual Measure 1.1 focuses on the combined results of our enforcement programs. The measure demonstrates the efficacy of three distinct, but complementary, components of the EEOC's Five-Point Plan. Our emphasis on the Proficient Resolution of discrimination complaints in both the private and federal sectors ensures that we select the most efficient and effective means of addressing each complaint. By placing a premium on the Promotion and Expansion of Mediation/ADR, we seek to document the benefits of mediation in today's workplaces, such as reducing costs, defusing conflict, and fostering amicable working relationships, employee satisfaction and productivity. Through Strategic Enforcement and Litigation, we seek to maximize the impact of our enforcement resolutions by obtaining relief for multiple aggrieved individuals and securing broad-based, prospective relief to prevent the recurrence of discrimination and thereby benefit others in the workplace. A strong litigation program strengthens our ability to obtain resolutions through the charge process and the mediation program.
We have elected to measure the combined results of our enforcement programs to ensure that the programs work toward a common goal rather than in competition. For example, for each private sector charge that provides benefits though mediation, there is one fewer opportunity to provide benefits through conciliation or litigation. Likewise, for each federal sector complaint resolved at hearing, there is one fewer opportunity to provide benefits on appeal. Our consolidated approach to measuring the number of individuals benefited by all of our enforcement programs allows the various programs to support and complement one another, while maximizing the total number of individuals benefited.
Annual Measure 1.2 focuses on the Proactive Prevention component of the EEOC's Five-Point Plan. This measure assesses the number of individuals benefiting from improvements to organizations' policies, practices or procedures, because of the participation of private and federal sector employer representatives in EEOC's major outreach initiatives or training and technical assistance programs. This assessment relies largely on feedback and self-reporting by employers attending our outreach events. This measure is intended to assess the real world impact of our prevention efforts, and places an emphasis on using prevention strategies to combat employment discrimination.
|Long-Term Measure 2||By FY 2012, the public rates its confidence in EEOC's enforcement of federal equal employment laws at TBD%* or higher.|
|Annual Measure 2.1||At least TBD% of private sector charges are resolved in 180 days or fewer by FY 2012.|
|Annual Measure 2.2||At least TBD% of federal sector hearings are resolved in 180 days or fewer by FY 2012.|
|Annual Measure 2.3||At least TBD% of federal sector appeals are resolved in 180 days or fewer by FY 2012.|
|Annual Measure 2.4||At least TBD% of investigative files meet established criteria for quality by FY 2012.|
|Annual Measure 2.5||At least TBD% of respondents and charging parties report confidence in EEOC's private sector mediation/ADR program by FY 2012.|
|Annual Measure 2.6||At least TBD% of EEOC lawsuits are successfully resolved during the period ending in FY 2012.|
|Annual Measure 2.7||At least TBD% of individuals demonstrate an awareness of their equal employment opportunity rights and responsibilities by FY 2012.|
*TBD = To Be Determined
If the public is aware of our enforcement activities and believes that we have handled discrimination complaints effectively, they will be more likely to rely on us to investigate, mediate, litigate, adjudicate a federal complaint, and otherwise resolve allegations of discrimination. Additionally, if the agency's reputation is one of a fair and responsible enforcer of the civil rights employment laws, then employers, attorneys and other members of the public will be more likely to defer to our assessment of discrimination complaints and commit to voluntary compliance through mediation, settlement or conciliation.
A reputable private organization conducted a survey, obtaining a baseline value for this measure. The survey results demonstrated that 49% of all of the individuals responding to the question, who identified a specific confidence level, have confidence in EEOC's ability to enforce Federal equal employment laws. The survey was conducted in 2004, and results made available in 2005. We plan to repeat this survey assessment during the period of this strategic plan to assess the public's confidence in our enforcement role.
Annual Measures 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4 focus on the Proficient Resolution of private sector charges, federal sector hearings and federal sector appeals. In recognition of the maxim that justice delayed is justice denied, these measures ensure the timely resolution of complaints in each of our major complaint handling activities. The goal of resolving a number of private sector charges within 180 days builds upon a steady stream of success in reducing the average charge processing time. It also balances the need to provide prompt service with the need to devote the necessary time and attention to charges that present meritorious or complex claims and to remedy discrimination where it is found. The goals of resolving federal sector hearings and federal sector appeals within 180 days reflect our commitment to continue the dramatic change in the timely handling of federal sector complaints. Annual Measure 2.4 ensures that investigative files meet quality standards. A large proportion of sampled investigative files reviewed will meet two critical quality criteria: 1) the appropriate charge categorization and file documentation to support actions taken, and 2) the resolution of the charge. This measure is intended to ensure that we do not complete our work quickly at the expense of performing our work well.
Annual Measure 2.5 focuses on the Promotion and Expansion of Mediation/ADR, recognizing that the public's confidence in our mediation program has a significant impact on its perception of the EEOC as a whole. We will obtain results for this measure by surveying participants in EEOC's mediation program and tabulating responses about their confidence in using the program. This measure has been used by the agency since 2003, so we have significant trend data upon which to base our targets. The confidence level in this program is consistently high. It is critical to maintain this level of confidence because it helps convince participants, particularly company representatives, of the value of alternative dispute resolution.
Annual Measure 2.6 focuses on Strategic Enforcement and Litigation by placing a premium on maintaining our high level of successful litigation resolutions. Successful resolutions include cases decided by favorable court order and those concluded through a consent decree or a settlement agreement in litigation. A future target value for this measure will ensure that we continue to exercise our prosecutorial discretion responsibly, while allowing us to take on emerging issues and trends.
Annual Measure 2.7 focuses on the Proactive Prevention of employment discrimination by ensuring that individuals understand their EEO rights and responsibilities. We believe that individuals who know their rights and their responsibilities are more likely to properly identify discriminatory behaviors at the workplace and know what to do about them. In addition, we believe it is equally important for individuals who are responsible for workplace policies, practices, and procedures to have the information they need to assess critically whether their workplaces are contributing to a discriminatory environment and what their responsibilities are for correcting discriminatory conduct.
|Efficiency Measure||By FY 2012, the number of individuals benefiting from EEOC's enforcement programs and outreach efforts for each agency FTE increases by TBD%*.|
*TBD = To Be Determined
Enhancing the number of working people benefited by each agency Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) position demonstrates our efficiency, because over 70% of the agency's budget is dedicated to compensation and benefits. This entirely new area of measurement relies on data on the number of individuals benefited by our programs, which is collected for Long-Term Measure1. As noted in connection with that measure, we currently do not have complete baseline data and we will develop methodologies for obtaining and computing that data. The correlation to our FTE level is appropriate as it recognizes that our staff are the direct contributors to positive change in the workplace and because staff levels are susceptible to change. We believe that this measure will be a compelling indicator of the efficiency of our operations.
Promote and Expand Mediation/ADR
Strategic Enforcement and Litigation
To support the goals and strategies in this strategic plan and avoid redundancy and duplication of effort, the EEOC works in partnership and collaboration with other government agencies. We highlight below a selection of the agency's significant cross-cutting programs.
Become the world's preeminent civil rights employment law agency and serve as the standard bearer for excellence in outreach, enforcement and professionalism.
Our Management Objective emphasizes Organizational Excellence and encompasses the final element of our Five-Point Plan, EEOC as a Model Workplace. This Objective seeks to improve our organizational capacity and infrastructure through sound management of our resourceshuman, financial and technological. Maximizing effective use of these resources is essential to achieve our enforcement and outreach goals and to carry out our mission.
Our agency's mission to promote equal employment opportunity and enforce the Federal employment discrimination laws is a constant reminder to us of the importance of organizational excellence. To carry out our mission with credibility, the EEOC must itself be a model workplace. Only through organizational excellence can we rise to challenges in this Strategic Plan and achieve the ambitious measures of success set out in our Strategic Objective.
Several years ago the Commission asked the National Academy of Public Administration to conduct an objective, independent study of our structure and how we deliver our services to our stakeholders. In 2003, NAPA issued its report, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Organizing for the Future, and provided us with three major recommendations to guide the Commission in repositioning. Since then we have made significant progress in our efforts to reposition the EEOC to better serve the public.
Our repositioning plan has been phased in over several years. The first phase was the establishment of a National Contact Center (NCC) which became operational in FY 2005. The pilot NCC makes the EEOC dramatically more accessible to the public through extended hours, dedicated customer service representatives, state of the art technology, and translation services. The second phase was repositioning EEOC's field structure, which was implemented in January 2006. The repositioned structure allows for expanded presence, reduced operating costs, flattening of overall management structure, and more logical alignment of our offices. It also permits the agency to redeploy staff to front-line positions, fill additional positions, and ensure that each office has the staff necessary to manage its workload.
The third phase will encompass the restructuring of our Headquarters functions to better support our field operations. These changes are expected to result in much needed efficiencies - allowing us to redeploy more staff to our front-line services and allocate resources to maximize results and ultimately achieve cost savings over the long term. Through all of our repositioning efforts we aim to strategically align our workforce for greater effectiveness and efficiency by streamlining functional responsibilities, broadening the spans of control, reducing layers of management, dedicating greater resources to our front-line functions and addressing competency gaps.
As we developed and implemented our management strategies we found the five government wide initiatives of the President's Management Agenda (PMA) a useful guide.
As part of improving our strategic management of human capital, the EEOC has completed key steps toward developing and implementing a human capital initiative. Planning for human capital needs is more important than ever. Due in large part to retirements, the EEOC has experienced a significant reduction in staff in recent years, affecting our institutional memory and skills base. A human capital strategic plan was drafted in FY 2004 and has guided the agency's actions, including:
The EEOC's new initiative to reinvigorate its systemic discrimination program highlights the need to fine tune our human capital approaches. To succeed, the agency must enhance incentives for identifying, investigating, and litigating systemic cases, provide additional opportunities for training and the development of expertise related to systemic discrimination, and improve technology skills. Incidences of employment discrimination in general have become more subtle and more difficult to detect and remedy. The systemic initiative will facilitate development of more refined approaches to enforcing the law. Our goal is to ensure that employees have the right skills, talents, and abilities to succeed in implementing this program.
In an effort to fulfill our competitive sourcing obligations, the Agency has consistently identified commercial and inherently governmental inventories throughout the Commission. In FY 2005, we conducted our first-ever A-76 streamlined competition study for our federal operations case file administration. This resulted in the in-house competitor winning as the most efficient organization. In our five-year competitive sourcing plan, among the planned competitions identified are telecommunications, server operations, training, FOIA processing, human resource program support, and management and staff training.
As an example of our commitment to improved financial management, the EEOC earned unqualified audit opinions on its financial statements for the past two fiscal years. Agency financial reports can also be relied upon to provide creditable financial information for management decision-making. During FY 2005, EEOC began using an off-the-shelf software product to prepare the financial statements. This software imports data directly from the financial management system, eliminating the need for duplicate data entry by EEOC staff. This method of preparing financial statements helped us to correct a FY 2004 reportable condition related to the financial reporting process. For FY 2008 we will replace our financial system software and implement the e-travel service requirement.
In FY 2004, a cross-organizational group of agency employees designed a cost accounting approach to promote better budget and performance integration and to improve financial management through the collection, allocation and reporting of program costs. The cost accounting framework outlines major program elements to which employees allocate their time, allowing the agency to assess the cost of its programs for effective management of resources and operations. In FY 2005, we conducted a mid-year review to assess how the system is working and made some necessary adjustments. The system enables us to routinely collect and better account for, safeguard, and strategically manage resources to meet agency goals. It also results in better alignment of agency resources with program goals/results as we continue to integrate budget and performance data. Finally, the cost data creates a transparent audit trail from the financial system through the financial and budget reporting cycle.
The EEOC is committed to improved service and government efficiency by use of expanded electronic government (e-gov). During the past several years, EEOC has implemented several major projects that automated internal processes, reduced paperwork burden, integrated data, and provided electronic alternatives to obtain service and interact with the agency. Benefits related to these projects include: decreasing the burden on businesses and achieving internal cost savings and efficiencies by enabling businesses to update and submit required EEO-1 report data online, and improving customer service and internal efficiency by providing the ability to register and pay for EEOC seminars and training materials via the Internet. In addition, the agency plans to implement the new EEOC Assessment System (EAS) for public use over the Internet. The EAS will be an additional way for individuals alleging employment discrimination to initiate the process for filing a charge. The EAS will walk the user through a series of questions to determine whether EEOC is the most appropriate agency to provide assistance and allow electronic submission of complaint information to the appropriate EEOC field office. EEOC staff will review the information and follow-up directly with the potential charging party to complete the filing process. Those individuals who do not have easy access to the Internet or do not choose to use the EAS will still be able to directly contact the EEOC by calling or coming into one of its offices.
Our ability to achieve our e-gov objectives is, of course, dependent on a balancing of resources. The agency intends to reinitiate major internal technology projects such as electronic document management and video conferencing and to fund new initiatives to support collaborative enforcement/litigation processes, implement HSPD-12 smart card access, and enhance administrative systems related to e-Travel and employee time reporting. However, to balance resources, the agency may have to curtail new development and modernization initiatives, delay major infrastructure hardware refreshes, and reduce services in the areas related to network management, graphics development, and desktop support.
Below is a list of key external factors that could significantly affect the achievement of the EEOC's Strategic Objective, Management Objective, strategies, and goals. These factors provide insight on the assumptions used when defining the agency's goals.
Program evaluation is an important component of an agency's effort to assure that a program is operating as intended and achieving results. A program evaluation is a thorough examination of program design or operational effectiveness that uses a rigorous methodology and statistical and analytical tools. It also uses expertise within and outside the program under review to enhance the analytical perspectives and add credence to the evaluation and recommendations.
We have scheduled a number of program evaluations for completion during the next several years and will review opportunities to conduct additional evaluations. These evaluations will help guide adjustments or enhancements to these programs.
|Program Evaluation||Statement of Parameters of the Program Evaluation||Expected Initiation and Completion|
|Federal Sector||Evaluate the quality and timeliness of investigations of Federal sector equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaints conducted by Federal agencies.||Initiate FY 2007
Complete FY 2008
|National Contact Center||The National Academy of Public Administration will conduct a study of the EEOC’s National Contact Center.||Initiate FY 2007
Complete FY 2007
|Impact of EEOC Written Guidance||Evaluate the use of EEOC’s written guidance by stakeholders. Methodologies will be developed to identify appropriate samples of stakeholders using the guidance and the effects of its use on the workplace.||Initiate FY 2007
Complete FY 2009
|Systemic Enforcement||The evaluation will assess the effectiveness of the EEOC’s systemic enforcement initiative.||Initiate FY 2008
Complete FY 2010
|Effect of EEOC’s Federal Sector Evaluations and Assistance||The evaluation will identify specific activities conducted by the EEOC with federal agencies that result in changed policies, practices, or procedures. It will develop a methodology to estimate the results achieved from those changes.||Initiate FY 2009
Complete FY 2011
|EEOC External Communications||The evaluation will assess the impact and effectiveness of the EEOC’s external communications efforts, including outreach programs and the media.||Initiate FY 2010
Complete FY 2012