WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Feb. 1 voted unanimously to approve changes to the regulations that govern the Federal EEOC process. With the bipartisan vote, the Commission submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and all other Federal agencies its “Final Rule Revising its Federal Sector Complaint Processing Regulations”. This final rule is part of an ongoing review by the Commission of the federal sector EEO process in which the Commission is examining recommendations regarding the investigative function and other internal reviews of the Commission’s role in the EEO process.
The submission of the final rule to OMB and the other agencies represents another stage in the regulatory process. The inter-agency comment and coordination process with all agencies other than OMB ends on February 29, 2012. After OMB approval (usually 90 days after submission), the Commission will consider changes, if any, requested by OMB and the other agencies. Subsequently, the approved rule will be published in the Federal Register and on www.eeoc.gov. The final rule cannot be made public before that time.
The EEOC adjudicates discrimination complaints and monitors federal agency compliance with EEO laws and procedures. The Commission assesses the effect of agencies’ compliance with requirements to maintain continuing affirmative employment programs to promote EEO and to identify and eliminate barriers to equality of opportunity. The EEOC also provides leadership and guidance to federal agencies on all aspects of the federal government's equal employment opportunity program. The Commission assures federal agency and department compliance with EEOC federal sector regulations, provides technical assistance to federal agencies concerning EEO complaint adjudication, monitors and evaluates federal agencies' affirmative employment programs, and develops and distributes federal sector educational materials and conducts training for stakeholders.
Unlike its responsibilities in the private sector, the Commission does not process complaints of discrimination for federal employees. In the federal sector, individuals file complaints with their own federal agencies and those agencies are required to conduct an appropriate investigation of the claims raised in the complaints. Complainants can then request a hearing before an EEOC administrative judge (AJ) or file an appeal with EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations.
The Commission first published the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Dec. 21, 2009 for a 60-day notice and comment period. The Commission carefully considered all of the 35 public comments it received and made several changes to the NPRM in response to the comments.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.