DOCOUMENT RESUME 00671 - A10520061 System for P:ocessing Individual Eual Eplcymelit Opportunity Discrimination Complaints: Improvet.nts eeded. E-178929; FPCD-76-77. April 8, 1977. 91 Fp. Report to the Congress; by Elmer B. Staats, Ccomptroller General. Issue Area: Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Programs (302); Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Programs: Employment Discrimination in the Federal Sector (1000); Personnel anagement and Compensation: Equal Employment Opportunity (1004). Contact: Federal Personnel and Compensation Div. Budget Function: General Government: Central Personnel Management (805). Organization Concerned: Civil Service Commission; Department of Defense. Congressional Relevance: Congress; House Committee on Education and Labor; Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. Authority: (86 Stat. 103; Equal Employment Cpportunity Act of 1972; 42 U.S.C. 2000e; P.L. 92-261). Pair ator Standards Amendments of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 633a; P.L. 93-259, sec. 28(b) (2)). Executive Order 11246. Executive Crder 11375. Executive Order 11478. Age '"scriminaticn in Employment Act of 1967. Civil Rights Act o. 964, title VII, as amended. Although the Civil Service Commission has established an extensive system for processing individual discrimination complaints, many aspects of the system need improvement. Findings/Conclusions: At nine Federal agencies and departments, the planning and actions taken to make sure that discrimination complaint system objectives are met can be improved in several areas: management commitment, structure within the agency, and determining financial resources required and analyzing staff needs and qualifications. The nine agencies reviewed did i.ot have reliable data on the costs of operating their discrimination complaints systems and Government-wide cost data was not adequate. A ar.ety of problems regarding fairness and impartiality, timeliness, and complaint resolution were noted. Neither the Commission nor the agencies reviewed have adequately reviewed and evaluated the discrimination complaint systems. Sound reviews and evaluations are n possible at this tile because adequate data are lacking. ecommendaticns: The Chairman f the Civil Service Commission shculd emphasize that agencies should properly plan and implement teir discrimination complaint systems. The Chairman and the heads of the nine agencies reviewed should take action to improve their reviews and evaluations of complaint systems. The Chairman should also develop criteria for and assess the effectiveness and efficiency of agencies' complaint systems that consider qualitative and cost aspects in additicn to timeliness consideration. (Author/SC) CD REPORT TO THE CONGRESS BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ,.","a-OF THE UNITED STATES System For Processing Individual Equal Employment Opportunity Discrimination Complaints: Improvements Needed Civil ervice Commission Though the Civil Service Commission has established and other Federal agencies have put into practice an extensive system for pro- cessing individual complaints, many aspects of the operation and evaluation of the system need improvement. FPCD-'76-77 I COMPTROLIER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES WASHINGTON, D.C. C B-178929 To the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives This report recommends improvements in the Federal Government's system for processing the individual dis- criminatijn complaints of Federal employees and job applicants. We made our review pursuant to the Budgeting and Accounting Act, 1921 (31 U.S.C. 53), and the Accounting and Auditing Act of 1950 (31 U.S.C. 67). We are sending copies of this report to the Director, Office of Manugement and Budget; the Chairman, Civil Service Commission; the Secretaries of Defense, Air Force, Agriculture, Commerce, Hcelth, Education, and Welfare, Interior, and Transportation; the Administrators of the General Services and Veterans Administrations; and the Postmaster General. Comptroller General of the United States COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S SYSTEM FOR PROCESSING INDIVIDUAL REPORT TO THE CONGRESS EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNiTY DISCRIMINATION CG:%'LATNTS: IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED Civil Service Commission DIGEST Though the Civil Service Commission has estab- lished and other Federal agencies have put into practice an extensive system for proces- sing individual discrimination complaints, many aspects of the system need improvement. At nine Federal agencies and departments, the planning and actions taken to make sure that discrimination complaint system objectives are met can be improvei in several areas. These include -- management commitment, --how and where the system is structured in the agency. and --determining financial resources required and analyzing staff needs and qualifica- tions. See pp. 6 to 20.) The system helps employees to protect their rights of equal opportunity and at the same time gives agencies and supervisory personnel protection against unsupported accusations involving allegations of discrimination. (See p. 1.) Employees or applicants for Federal employment who believe they have been discriminated against because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or age can discuss the problem with a counselor. This is leferred to as the informal stage. If the counselor cannot resolve the matter informally, the employee may file a formal complaint with the agency. (See pp. 2 and 3.) Government-wide costs reported for informal counseling were about $9 million and $10.3 million in fiscal years 1974 and 1975, respectively. Cost estimates reported for formal complaint processing were about $9 million in fiscal year 1974 FPCD-75-77 Uear S tl_ . Upon removal, the report cover date should be noted hereon. i and $13.4 million in fiscal year 1975. Estimated costs for counseling and formal complaint processing for fiscal year 1976 were $12.6 million and $15.7 mill:on, respectively. (See p. 9.) The nine agencies reviewed, however, did not have reliable data on the costs of operating their discrimination complaints systems, and Government-wide ost data was not adequate. Data available, however, shows a trend of increasirg costs and that the trend will continue. Certain problers came up, regarding fairness and impartiality, timeliness, and complaint resolution. For example: --Complainants were not always made aware of and afforded their rights. --Fear of reprisals or actual reprisals concernej complainants and individuals who ad not filed complaints. -- Rights of alleged discriminatory offi- cials required reexamination. -- Equal employment opportunity officials named as alleged discriminatory officials can become involved in potential conflict situations, --Processing of formal complaints is not generally accomplished within the established 180-calendar-day standard. --When findings of discrimination were made, agencies were generally making seemingly appropriate remedies but were not colLect- ing personnel management deficiencies or taking disciplinary action against discri- minatory officials. (See pp. 22 to 33.) The extent of emphasis on and the success of the Informal resolution stage could not be determined because of unreliable statistical information. (See pp. 36-37 and 46.) Although the Commission, in its guidance to agencies, ii provides that each agency require its equal opportunity directr to change agency programs and procedures to eliminate discriminatory practices, the Commission has not paid enough attention to systemic discriminatory practices. It has almost solely worked on processing in- dividual complaints. (See pp. 44-45 and 47.) Neither the Commission nor the agencies reviewed have adequately reviewed and evaluated the discrimination complaint system. More importantly, however, sound reviews and eval- uations are not possible because adequate data is lacking. (See pp. 58 to 61.) The Commission did not provide for processing third-party complaints in the same way as in- dividual complaints by employees or applicants for employment were processed. For instance, when a third-party complaint was filed in which an organization *_ ome other third-party called an agency's attention to iscriminatory poli-ies and practices, the third-palty procedures were not in- tended to obtain redress i individual cases, unless a complaint was filed personally. However, effective April 18, 1977, procedures allowing for consolidation of complaints (class complaints) will replace the procedurEs for processing third-party allegations. (See p. 62.) Because of the variances between the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Commission regulations on the processing of age discrimination complaints do not entirely parallel those for complaints based on race, color, sex, religion, and national origin with respect to the right to pursue civil actions. These variances, in GAO's opinion, are unfair, creating a climate of confusion for complainants and for personnel responsible for administering the complaint .stem. (See pp. 62-63.) RECOMMENDATjONS The Chair qan of the Civil Service Commission should empheaize that agencies should properly plan and imp!ement their discrimination complaint systems. The Chairman and the heads of the nine agencies reviewed should take action to improve their reviews and evaluations of complaint systems. The report presents a number of other recommendations to the Commission and the nine agencies reviewed, Teal heet 1 to improve specific aspects of the Federal discrimination complaint system. (See pp. 19, 32, 47, 57, 60. and 63.) The Commission and agencies reviewed generally agreed with the recommendations. The Commission is developing new and revised guidelines for agencies concerning several problems identified by GAO. Adopting and implementing these guidelines will improve the Government's dis- criininatior. complaint system. iv Contents Page DIGEST i CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1 Scope of review 3 2 SYSTEM PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION CAN BE IMPROVED 6 Agency placement and structure of discrimination complaint system 6 System placement 7 System structure 8 Determining financial resources 8 Determining personnel reŽources 10 Lack of coordinated, systematic analysis by agencies to determine staffing needs 11 Lack of criteria for assigning full-time or part-time staff 12 Need for improvement in representation for certain EEO positions 13 Nonsubstantiated certification of EEO officials' qualifications 14 Lack of personnel expertise 15 Need for additional training for EEO personnel 16 Need for improved supervision, control, and evaluation for employees performing EEO functions on a collateral duty basis 17 Need for a classification standard for EEO positions 17 Conclusions 17 Recommendations 19 CSC comments and actions 20 3 FAIRNESS AND IMPARTIALITY 22 Complainants generally apprised of and afforded ricts 23 Rights ,mplainants during informal counse 23 Rights ormal complainants 24 Agencies not consistent in rejecting/ canceling complaints 25 CHAPTER Pape 3 Need to preclude misuse of the complaint system 27 Need to emphasize freedom from reprisal 28 Need for reexamination of the rights of alleged discriminatory officials 28 Potential conflicts may exist when EEO officJals are named as alleged dis- criminatory officials 29 Complaint system not always perceived to be fair and impartial 30 Employees not knowleaqeable about complaint system 31 Conclusions 31 Recommendations 32 Agency comments 33 4 RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINTS 35 Need for improved data or alternate procedures for assessing informal resolution 36 Basis for and causes of informal complaints 37 Corrective actions in informal stage 38 Formal resolution of complaints 39 Basis for and causes of formal complaints 39 Corrective actions on formal complaints 41 Agency disposition of cases 41 Complaints acted on by Appeals Review Board 42 Complaints appealed to CSC Commis- sioners 43 Findings of discrimination 43 Need to identify personnel management deficiencies and systemic discrimi- natory practices 44 Little disciplinary action taken by agencies 5 Appealing cases to civil courts 46 Conclusions 46 Recommendations 47 Agency comments 47 CHAPTER Page 5 TIMELINESS OF COMPLAINT PROCESSING 49 Processing time for complaints 49 InfGrmal counseling 50 Formal complaints 51 Factors affecting processing of formal complaint cases 51 CSC monitoring and action taken 53 Conclusions 56 Recommendation 57 Agency comments 57 6 PROGRAM REVIEWS AND EVALUATION 58 Agency evaluations of discrimination complaint systems 58 CSC evaluations of discrimination complainc systems 59 Conclusions 60 Recommendations 60 Agency comments 61 7 OTHER ATTERS 62 Need for improved CSC procedure for handling third-party complaints 62 Need for uniformity in EEO laws 62 Recommendation 63 CSC comments and actions 63 APPENDIX I Discrimination complaint system processing proc-edures 64 II Departments and aencies at which EEO discrimination complaint systems were reviewed 65 III November 22, 1976, letter from the Execu- tive Director o CSC 67 IV September 13, i976, letter from the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Director of EEO of t'ne Department of griculture V 77 September 8, 1976, letter from the Deputy to the Secretary (Personnel Policy) of the Department of the Air Force 78 Page APPENDIX VI August 23, 1976, letter from the Assistant Secretary for administration of the Department o Commerce 79 VII September 17, 1976. letter from the Administrator of the General Services Administration 80 VIII October J2, 1J76, letter from the Ass]-'t-- ant Secretary, Comptroller of HEW 81 IX September 23, 1J76, lettei from the Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior 82 X September 2, 1976, letter from the Postmaster General 83 XI September 27, 1976, letter from the Assistant Secretary for Administration from the Office of the Secretart of Transportation 84 XII September 8, 1976, letter from the Administrator of VA 87 XIII Principal officials rsponsible for administering activities discussed in this report 88 `%BREVIATIONS CSC Civil Service Commission EEO equal employment opportunity GAO General Accounting Office HE: Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Veterans Administration CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Processing complaints of employment discrimination is an important aspect of the Federal Government's efforts to elim- inate unequal treatment of individuals. The cmplaint system helps employees to protect their rights of equal oppor- tunity and at the same time gives agencies and supervisory personnel protection against unsupported allegations of discrimination. The system is a highly visible indicator of agency commitment to equal employment opportunity it fails to adequately (EEO); if process discrimination complaints and actively deal with discrimination issues, the system can negatively affect the credibility of the Federal EEO effort. Before 1955 the President's Committee on EEO had primary responsibility for coordinating the Government's EEO program. In January 1965 the Committee delegated authority for oper- ating the discrimination complaint system to the Civil Service Commission (CSC), because the liiaited size of the Committee's staff made it difficult to close cases as promptly as desired. CSC was responsible for the system and issued guidelines during the period 1966 to 1969 under the authority of Executive Order 11246, dated September 24, 1965, amended by Executive Order 11375, dated October 13, 1967. Additionally, in July 1969 CSC issued revised guidelines. Executive Order 11478, dated August 8, 1969, gave CSC the authority to povide guidance in the conduct of EEO programs in Federal departments and agencies. The order directed CSC to provide for --prompt, fair, and impartial consideration of all Federal employment discrimination complaints which are based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and -- appeals of decisions to CSC following impartial review by the Federal agency involved. The order also directed that agency systems provide for coun- seling of employees who believe they have been discriminated against and to encotrage resolution of matters on an informal basis. In May 1972 CSC issued detailed guidance for achieving the goals and intent of Executive Order 11478. The guidance, 1 a general framework for operation of the discrimination complaint sytem, provided for: -- Prompt resolution of complaints on an informal basis. --Prompt, fair, and impartial consideration of formal discrimination complaints. -- Appeals of decisions to CSC following impartial review by the Federal agency involved. The Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 (Public Law 92-261, approved Mar. 24, 1972, 86 Stat. 103, 42 U.S.C. S 2000e) amended title VII ot the 164 Civil Rights Act to provide added protection for Fderail employees so that per- sonnel actions would be free from discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. The act --gave CSC the authority to enforce equal employment and nondiscrimination and to grant full relief from discriminatory practices to aggrieved employees or applicants, including hiring or reinstatement with or without backpay, as appropriate; -- provided aggrieved employees access to the courts if they were not satisfied with final actions taken on their cases by the agency or CSC's Appeal Review Board; and -- strengthened the system of discrimination complaint processing and required that complaints be resolved within 180 days of filing. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which previously applied only to employees in private enterprise, was amended by section 28(b)(2) of Public Law 93-259 (Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1974, approved Apr. 8, 1974, 88 Stat. 55, 29 U.S.C. S633a) to include Federal, State, and local governments. The law requires that all personnel actions affecting Federal employees or applicants for Federal employment who are 40 to 64 years old be free from discrim- ination based on age. The system operates in the following manner. Employees or applicants for Federal Employment who believe they have been subjected to discrimination because of race, color, religion, se, national origin, or age must first discuss the problem with an EEO counselor, (This is referred to as the informal stage of the process.) If the counselor is 2 unable to resolve the mattr informally, the employce may file a formal complaint with the agency. After the agency makes a formal investigation of the complaint, it allows for an adjustment of the complaint on an informal basis. To this end, the agency furnishes the complainant or his c- her rep- resentative a copy of the investigative file and allows the complainant to discuss the file with appropriate oficials so as to work toward informal resolution. If the complaint is not resolved through this means, the complainant may re- quest (1) a hearing before a complaints examiner who submits a recommended decision to the head of the agency or his or her designee followed by a subsequent agency decision or (2) a decision by the head of the agency or his designee without a hearing. If the complainant is still not satis- fied with the decision on his or her complaint, he or she may make an appeal to CSC's Appeals Review Board or may file a civil action in U.S. District Court. If the complainant elects to appeal to CSC, but is dissatisfied with the Appeals Review Board decision, he or she may file a civil action. Complainants have the right to be repre- sented at any stage of the presentation of a complaint in- cluding the counseling stage. (See app. I for a procedural diagram of the system.) The reported number of formal complaints of discrim- ination filed by Federal employees and applicants for Federal employment was 7,059 in fiscal year 1976, compared to 2,743 in fiscal year 1973 and 1,025 in fiscal year 1970. Government-wide costs reported for formal complaint processing were about $9 million in fiscal year 1974 ad $13.4 million in fiscal year 1975, and for informal counseling were about $9 million and $10.3 million in fiscal years 1974 and 1975, respectively. Estimated costs for counseling and formal complaint processing for fiscal year 1976 were $12.6 and $15.7 million, respectively. SCOPE OF REVIEW We reviewed the discrimination complaint systems of nine Federal departments and agencies at their headquarters. We visited five constituent agencies within these departments and agencies, both at headquarters and at 22 field installa- tions. Our purpose was to: --Assess compliance with the law, Executive orders, and CSC regulations and procedures. --Determine agencies' commitments to system operations. 3 ---Evaluate system operations regarding promptness, fairness, impartiality, and complaint resolution. -- Determine the emphasis placed on informal resolution of complaints. The departments and agencies reviewed were the Departments or Agriculture; Conmerce; Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW); Interior; and Transportation; the General Services Administration; the Postal Service; the Air Force; and the Veterans Administration (VA). (See app. II for identification of field locations reviewed.) We did not attempt to assess the quality of actual decisions made by CSC or the agencies on individual complaint cases. Also, we did not review processing of third-party com- plaints ~vhereby CSC allows general allegations of discrim- ination to be made by organizations or other third parties i.l personnel matters which are unrelated to individual com- plaints. Further, our review did not include an analysis of CSC's proposed regulations on class action complaints in which one or more members of a class can sue for themselves, or for themselves and other members of a class. Our review placed primary emphasis on the operations of the system, including completed complaint cases for the period July 1972 through December 1974. This was the latest information available at the time of our review. The volume of formal complaints in the agencies reviewed represented about 70 percent of the Government-wide formal complaint volume for fiscal year 1974. We examined regulations, policies, procedures, and guidance issued to agencies by CSC, as well as the methods CSC and agencies used to direct, monitor, and evaluate pro- grams. Top-level CSC and agency officials responsible for EEO, personnel, and complaint investigations were interviewed. We also discussed the discrimination complaint system with representatives of the Federal Employees Appeals Authority, the Chairman of the Appeals Review Board, and various union officials. Responses to questionnaires were obtained from com- plainants, noncomplainants, counselors, managers, and super- visors at installations visited. We reviewed a U.S. Commis- sion on Civil Rights report, "The Federal Civil Rights Enforcement Effort--1974," issued in July 1975 to the President of the United States, the President of the Senate, 4 and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. We also reviewed recent court decisions on Federal employee discrim- ination complaints and numerous other documents related to the Federal discrimination complaint system. 5 CHAPTER 2 SYSTEM PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION CAN BE IMPROVED An effective discrimination complaint system requires top management's commitment, as evidenced in large measure by an adequate application of financial and personnel resources. All agencies we reviewed had operational discrimination com- plaint systems but the planning and implementation was affected by support provided by top management. Agencies' efforts generally showed a lack of a systematic approach in establishing system requirements. In addition to the need for more support from top management, the planning and implementation of the complaint system can be improved in terms of its location and the organization of certain of its functions, determining finan-- cial resources, and analyzing manpower needs and qualifi- cations. AGENCY PLACEMENT AND STRUCTURE OF DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT SYSTEM Soon afte- the Civil Service Commission assumed primary responsibility for Federal employee discrimination complaints in January 1965, the volume oi complaints necessitated designing a formal structure for complaint processing. CSC, under authority of Executive Order 11246, issued irectives to make the system more responsive. These directives in- cluded criteria for organizing discrimination complaint systems. Agencies were permitted flexibility in designing and implementing their systems, and as a result each agency had to decide on an organization for its coiplaint system, including its placement and structure. Agency action was also required on delegating authority and assigning responsi- bility to operate the complaint system. The placement of the discrimination complaint system varied in the agencies we examined. The structure also varied. Agencies had various reasons for placing and structuring complaint systems, including credibility consid- erations, consistency with existing agency operational structures, and proximity to office of personnel resources. The extent to which agencies considered these factors in structuring and placing their discrimination complaint 6 systems was nt determinable because of a general lack of appropriate planning and/or monitoring documentation. System Ia2m ent CSC's Federal Personnel Manual requires each agency to designate a director of eaual employment opportunity operate under the immediate supervision of the head ofto agency for certain functions, including the operation the discrimination complaint system. However, the directorof the EEO, in at least the Air Force and the Department of of the Interior did not report directly to the head of the agency as required by CSC regulations, but reorted to designees of agency heads. The Air Force and the Veterans Administration operated their entire EEO program in the office of personnel, and Department of Agriculture operated its headquarters EEO the program within its personnel section. A major problem with locating the discrimination plaint system in the office of personnel appeared to com- involve that office's independence, the lack of which can affect system credibility; the office of personnel, which is ultimately responsible for personnel actions, also must decide cses of alleged discrimination which may involve agencies' personnel actions. The major concern in locating complaint systems outside the office of personnel is that the individuals responsible for complaint processing do have enough knowledge of, or training in, personnel pro- not cedures and practices, the expertise which underlies plaints processing. Thus, formulation of appropriate com- ative action under these circumstances can be difficultaffirm- if not impossible. Coordination and communication problems gardless of whether the complaint system was occurred re- located inside or outside the office of personnel. Some individuals re- sponsible for preparing the affirmative action plans were not sufficiently aware of the problems affecting the plaint system, though the affirmative action plan is com- the primary document for noting such problems. As a result, in many plans action items relating to the complaint system merely stated administrative requirements, such as providing for an adequate number of counselors and processing formal complaints within 180 days, rather than providing guidance on how problems might be resolved. 7 Another variance existed with respect to the placement of EEO investigative functions. In at least five agencies, investigators were assigned from organizational elements removed from the office of personnel, such as the General Counsel's office or other professional investigative ofices. Agencies also used CSC investigators to handle some cases, either to achieve independence or because they did not have enough investigators. In two agencies, however, individuals operating within the control of EEO offices investigated complaints. In our opiniin, the discrimination complaint system siould operate independently of the office of personnel co achieve system credibility. However, we see no objection to having the office of personnel provide logistics for the EEO function. System structure The structure of discrimination complaint systems, including degree of centralization and assignment of re- sponsibilities, varied among agencies. All agencies we reviewed had decentralized systems for handling precomplaints; tha is, informal complaints were handled by counselors at the locations where the complaints arose. Formal complaints could be accepted at decentralized locations in six of the nine agencies we reviewed, but only four of the nine agencies could reject complaints at decentralized locations. In the remaining agencies, accept-reject decisions were centralized at agencies' headquarters. Four agencies were centralized in two other important areas--assigning investigators and deciding on the need for disciplinary action. Two other agencies had centralized systems for decisions on disciplinary action. In accordance with CSC requirements, final decisionmaking on formal cases was centralized in each of the agencies we trviewed. DETERMINING F NNCIAL RESOURCES There was no reliable data on the costs of operating discrimination complaint systems in the nine agencies we reviewed. Also, Government-wide cost data was not adequate. Data available, however, showed a trend of increasing costs and that the trend will continue. Although agencies did not maintain actual cost data for the administration and operation of their discrimination 8 complaint systems, estimated costs for these activities were prepared by agencies for CSC in two reports: (1) the alloca- tion of resources statement in the Affirmative Action Plan and (2) a report of EEO program expenditures required by Office of Management and Budget Circular A-11. CSC, to assist in preparing these reports, provided instructions to agencies for costs to be included in each of them. Eazn report includes two cost categories related to EEO complaints--costs of counseling and costs of processing formal complaints. Government-wide costs reported for the complaint system for fiscal years 1974 and 1975 and estimated costs for fiscal year 1976 follow. Fiscal year 1976 1974 1975 (estimated) (millions) Complaint conciliation (informal cunseling) $9 $10.3 $12.6 Complaint investigation (formal complaint processing) 9 13.4 15.7 Though the A-11 report includes more cost factors, CSC did not provide enough guidance for consistently developing cost data for agencies' use in the preparation of either of the reports. For example, agencies as a result did not record many of the costs attendant to processing complaints, particularly costs associated with the counseling process. Since a system to record actual counseling costs did not exist, agencies used various methods in arriving at such costs. One agency, for example, used a factor of 21 full days (the time period allocated by CSC regulations for counseling) to arrive at costs. Another agency arrived at its costs by estimating 12 staff-hours for counseling each case. Neither agency had considered all cost factors in accumulating its costs. Examples of deficiencies or inconsistencies in cost data included these: -- Costs of various agency personnel involved in complaint processing (though not part of the formal EEO structure) were not accumulated. This applies 9 to complainants, witnesses, and agency representatives, including legal counsel, and others. -- Salary costs for agency management, General Counsel staff, and ad hoc investigators (part-time investiga- tors) were not reported. -- Court csts incurred by agencies were not requested. Thus, reported system costs were understated. The Veterans Administration, 'rate from its reporting of costs to CSC, attempted to d ne the costs associated with complaints that becaMie formal. n fiscal year 1974. VA determined that its formal complaint processing costs were greater than those reported to CSC, but even that attempt did not include all costs factors. Investigation and hearing costs varied greatly depending on the particulars of the cases, including complexity, geo- graphic locations, and persons involved. Costs for CSC investigations ranged from under $100 to, in a few cases, over $10,000 and averaged about 2,150. Hearings costs, exclusive of transcript preparation, ranged from $160 to $4,700 and averaged approximately $700 a case for fiscal year 1975. DETERMINING PERSONNEL RESOURCES An effective discrimination complaint system requires an adequate number of qualified staff to process complaints. Staffing must be directed toward the goals of prompt, fair, and impartfal processing, with emphasis on informal reso- lution. The basic positions applicable to EEO, and more specifically the discrimination complaint system, include EEO counselcrs, officers, specialists, investigators, com- plaints examiners, and directors. CSC has established quali- fication standards for assignment of EEO work as a collater- al duty, and also established the GS-160 Equal Opportunity Personnel Series for essentially full-time specialists and officers. CSC has provided guidance to agencies to assist them in making saffing determinations. Areas addressed in CSC regu- lations include: ---Types of positions necessary to operate complaint systems. 10 -- Qualification standards for staffing the positions, -- Quantity of staff (particularly counselors). -- Training of staff. -- Supervision and evaluation of staff. While CSC prescribes the requirements which agencies are to follow arid the guidelines they are to use in estab- lishing and implementing their programs, it has flexibility to agencies to meet their specific provided needs. For instance, in terms of quantity and allocation of staffing, CSC merely requires each agency to" * * * provide resources to administer its equal employment sufficient opportunity gram in a positive and effective manner * * *." pro- Problems noted in either CSC regulations or in agencies' implementation of the staffing regulations are: -- Lack of a coordinated, systematic analysis by agencies to determine staffing needs. -- Lack of criteria for assigning full-time versus part- time staff. --Need for improvement in race and sex mix of persons in certain EEO positions. --Nonsubstantiated certification of EEO officials' qualifications. -- Lack of personnel systems expertise. -- Need for additional training for EEO personnel. -- Need for improved supervision, control, and evalu- ation of employees performing EEO functions on collateral duty basis. a -- Need for a classification standard for EEO positions. Lack of coordinated, systematic analysis by agencies to determine staffing needs CSC regulations require that each agency designate many EEO officers and counselors as necessary as to carry out EEO functions, including the operation of the discrimination 11 complaint system. The regulations also urge each agency to have a staff of investigators readily available to handle complaint cases. Decisionmaking authority on staffing was decentralized at most agencies we reviewed. For example, agencies' pro- cedures usually required that lower level organizational elements provide for a sufficient number of counselors. Though cognizant otficials in most agencies could cite the number of additional staff needed, there was little evidence i; the agencies examined of a systematic determine actual staffing needs on the basis analysis to of workload analysi s. We noted or were advised that too little staffing attention to complaints activity we:e applied and/or cies reviewed. in eight agen- This wa; articularly true at the department level and resulted in program management that was reactive in nature. This contributed to the timeliness problems that existed in the processing of complaints and may have affected tIe quality of complaint processing. Officials in the Departments of Transportation, and Health, Education, and Welfare and in the Interior, Air Force indicated staffing problems were compounded further by tight personnel ceilings and, in some ases, required the use of collateral duty personnel where full-time personnel were preferred. positions CSC guidance suggests counseling be available 2 or 3 days after an initial telephone or written within request for counseling service where walk-in service is not feasible. CSC also suggested that counselors should be available all shifts where there are multishift operations. for Although agencies generally conformed with CSC's suggestions, agency appeared to have too few counselors one assigned field locations to adequately service the various at some work shifts, employee needs, and/or major EEO case officials in other agencies advised us that loads. Also, counselors, in a few instances, were not always available when needed. Lack of criteria for assigning full-time or part-time staff Agencies must decia whether counselors and gators, who are the primary discrimination investi- complaint system staff, should be assigned as full-time or part-time personnel. CSC did not provide guidance to agencies as to when counsel- ors and investigators should be full-time or part-time. 12 CSC's position is that the number oi counselors assigned within an agency or installation will vly according counseling and complaint workload; the racial, to tne ethnic, and sex make-up of the wo.;. force; and the <J-related and issues which have been raised generally. problem, CSC recommended as a general rule that agencies designate at least one EEO counselor at major installations and have an overall of 1 counselor for every 500 employees. ratio CSC has also recognized in its guidance that occasionally the volume and complexity of complaint cases justifies the assignment full-time counselors. of This recognition allows agencies the latitude to assign full-time or part-time counselors as they believe them necessary. All agencies ha( part-time coun- selors; this was t 'at most locations we visited, apparently because the agencies did not believe full-time counselors were needed or could not justify full-time positions. Three agencies--the Air Force, the Postal ervice, and the General Services Administration did have a few full-time counselors at certain locations. Nne of the nine agencies, however, had developed agency-wide written criteria for determining when the volume .and complexity of problems warranted fuil- time or part-time counselors. Naed for improvement in representation for certain :EO positions In filling EEO positions, most agencies had no formal rteuiremepts that the occupants of the positions be repre- sentative of the work force with respect to race, sex, or other factors. Hever, at least 5 agencies--the Department of Agriculture, General Services, Interior, Postal and VA--indicated and provided positive evidence Services, that such factors were considered in selecting individuals for certain EEC positions. Tne same situation may have also existed in the other agencies, though conclusive evidence was not pc- vided to us during our review. We obtained information from CSC and other agencies of a date be.tween June 1, 1975, and Novemher 30, as showed tha' minorities and women generally were 1975, which overrepre- sented on the agencies' EEO staff (irncluding counselors, EEO officers, EEO directors, a investigators) as compared tc their representation in the agencies' work force. minorities and women were generally underrepresentedHowever, as com- plaints examiners and CSC investigators in comparison to their representation in the total Federal work force. In one agency, for eample, the overall work force consisted of 11.5 13 percent minority and 15.9 percent female employees, whereas the EEO staff was about 69 percent minority and 78 percent female. In another agency the total work force was 22.3 percent minority and 26.7 percent female, whereas the full- time EEO staff was about 70 percent minority and 50 percent female. In a hird agency, where the total work force was about 29 percent minority and 68 percent female, more specific data shcwed: Percent Percy'1t minority female Counselors 66.0 78.7 Investigators 51.6 54.0 Total EEO staff 53.3 71.3 In other areas of complaint processing, however, women and minorities were generally underrepresented. For example, CSC investigators, complaints examiners, and appeal staff mem- bers were predominantly white males. Minorities and females represented about 20 and 38 per- cent of the Federal work force, respectively. About 90 per- ceit of the CSC investigators were white males. The minority and female representation for complaints examiners and appeals staff members is shown below. Percent Percent minority female Complaints examiner 11 11 Appeals staff members 22 25 Nonsubstantiated certification of EEO officials' qualifications ihe EEO act of 1972 requires that agencies in their af- firmative action plans provide " * * * a description of the qualifications in terms of training and experience relating to equal employ- ment opportunity or the principal and operating of- ficials of each such department, agency, or unit responsible for carrying out the equal employment opportunity program * * *.# CSC has implemented this provision by requiring agencies to certify that the qualifications of certain specified EEO 14 program officials have been reviewed and meet the pertinent EEO qualiLications standards. The certification also requires evidence that the review has been made and that its findings are being maintained and available for examination by CSC officials. In our opinion, EEO positions, like other posi- tions, should be based on merit and filled with qualified persons. Only one of the ine agencies--the Department of Commerce--provided evidence that a review of the qualifica- tions of the EEO program officials had been made, although signed certifications were included in ach agency's fiscal year 1974 affirmative action plan. The primary reason cited for lack of review was the assumption that the individuals were qualified when selected for positions. In our opinion, CSC's requirement that the review be made and evidence of the review and its findings be maintained is reasonable and should be complied with by the agencies. Lack of personnel expertise CSC qualification standards for EEO staff positions do not emphasize the need for or desirability of prior personnel management expertise, though numerous EEO complaints involve issues related to personnel practices. CSC, however, recog- nized the importance of knowledge of personnel activities when, with respect to collateral duty assignments, it required that employees assigned EEO duties be capable of acquiring knowledge and understanding of agency personnel procedures and regulations to properly perform their EEO duties. The effects of EEO personnel having inadequate personnel expertise can e serious. For example, an EEO officer in one agerncy, in attempting to resolve a complaint, promised a prorotion to a complainant within a specified time without the proper authority to do so. Such promises increase ex- pectations of complainants, causing credibility problems for he ageicy when it cannot guarantee results. When the agency concludes that discrimination is pre- sent, one method of resolution is to give the complainant priority consideration for promotion. CSC's position is that priority consideration involves considering the individual for promotion to a position for which he is qualified before considering other candidates. The meaning of priority con- sideration has not been interpreted consistently by cogni- zant agency EEO officials. ne agency official's interpre- tation was consistent with CSC's view, while two other agency 15 officials believed it meant placing the individual in competition with others when job openings occur. Need for additional training for EEO personnel Personnel involved in discrimination complaint systems should have enough knowledge of the system and the Federal personnel system to properly perform their assigned duties and responsibilities and function effectively. CSC has recognized the need for training and orientation in personnel administration for EEO staffers. In a February 26, 1971, letter to agency heads, CSC recommended that each agency de- velop indepth orientation programs of personnel administra- tion for newly designated EEO officers and other individuals with responsibility for EEO program administration. Since most complaints are personnel related, it appears essential that those persons who are responsible for resolving problems involving personnel matters be knowledgeable in and have ready access to personnel information. However, quite often EEO personnel were riot knowledgeable in personnel mat- ters when selected for EEO positions and did not obtain the necessary experience or training to perform efficiently after occupying such positions. This was particularly true of those individuals involved in EEO on a collateral duty basis. We obtained information on training of EEO personnel at five agencies--the Department of Transportation, Agriculture, Com- merce, General Services, and VA. None of these had developed an indepth orientation program of personnel administration for newly designated EEO officers or other staff persons having responsibility for EEO program administration, though CSC had recommended such action. Agencies, with few exceptions, re- lied on CSC to provide basic training for EEO staffs, without providing any coordinated system for determining what advanced training was needed and seeing that it was provided. Eight agencies had in-house training for counselors and//or investi- gators. However, 35 of 118 counselors interviewed believed they had received insufficient training. Officials in six agencies or agency records indicate that there was a need for additional traininc f EEO personnel, especially collateral duty personnel. 16 Need for improved supervision. control, and eva uation for eemees2tee _ro_in EEO f-unctions on a collateral dutbasls Collateral duty personnel are assigned to most EEO posi- tions, especially EEO counselor and investigator positions. CSC guidance stipulates that a part-time counselor's position description include a statement of his or her counseling responsibility. This same guidance states that " * * gener- ally an employee's performance should not be evaluated with regard to part-time counseling duties * * *." Agencies have followed CSC guidance and not completed formal performance evaluations for individuals performing EEO functions on a part-time basis. This has contributed to a lack of effective control over individuals performing such functions. Agency officials advised us of deficiencies in the performances of part-time EEO personnel, such as late and poorly prepared counselor reports. They had no formal basis to encourage better performance of these functions aside from relieving individuals of their collateral duties. Most agencies have not complied with CSC guidance sug- gesting that a statement of their counseling responsibilities be placed in the regular position description of counselors. Need for a classification standard for EEO_positions In June 1972 CSC provided a qualification standard for EEO positions, that is, an outline of experience and/or educa- tion necessary for an individual to qualify for positions. In November 1976 CSC advised us that new written grade evaluation and qualification standards will be issued. The classification standard will match duties with pay level and pay series. This should provide agencies an improved standard to determine what grade levels should be assigned to various EEO positions. We were advised by a cognizant CSC personnel specialist that EEO programs were staffed without proper studies of exactly what duties were required and what grade levels were appropriate and that the current studies may result in person- nel changes of existing EEO positions. CONCLUSIONS CSC has establised and agencies have implemented an extensive system for processing individual discrimination 17 complaints. Though a complete framework which provides em- ployees every opportunity to file complaints and appeal deci- sions of agency heads is in operation, many aspects of the planning, implementation, operation, and evaluation of the system need improvement. Agencies varied in the placement of the discrimination complaint system in the agency and in the structure or orga- nization of certain functions. The placement and structure of the complaint system can affect both the quality and timely processing of complaints. Therefore, numerous relevant factors must be considered before deciding on the placement and structure of the discrimination complaint system. We believe, however, that agencies did not conduct the neces- sary planning before making these decisions, For example, it does not appear that agencies have given adequate con- sideration in the planning phase to such factors as system credibili , coordination with those knowledgeable in personnel. d staffing matters, including determinations on a full-time or a part-time staff. In addition, in some in- stances the discrimination complaint system was nuL operated independently of the office of personnel, thus possibly affecting credibility of the system. We had great difficulty in assessing the depth of plan- ling undertaken by agencies before system implementation, oe- -ause (1) documentation to show planning generally was not available and (2) the personnel involved in the program at the time of our review had in most cases not been involved with the program originally or with the planning of the system. Therefore, the agencies were not able to provide meaningful information about system planning. CSC has not specified nor have agencies performed suf- ficient analysis to know the appropriate level of commitment for operating a discrimination complaint system. Detailed and specific criteria regarding resources for the system and what constitutes a successful system have not been developed. Agencies had unreliable data on the costs of operating discrimination complaint systems, and Government-wide cost data was inadequate; this was because (1) sufficient guidance for developing data on a consistent basis was not provided to agencies by CSC, and (2) agencies had not developed adequate EEO cost accumulation systems. 18 We noted the following problems concerning personnel resources involved in systems we reviewed: -- Agencies had not made coordinated systematic analyses to determine staffing needs. -- CSC did not provide adequate guidance to agencies for establishing when counselors and investigators should be full-time or part-time staff members. -- Agencies had no formal requirements for assuring that occupants of EEO positions are representative of the work force with regard to race, sex, or other factors. Agencies were generally well represented in EEO posi- tions, however, with regard to race and sex, although CSC investigators, complaints examiners, and appeal staff members were predominantly white males. -- Agencies generally had no supporting documentation showing that the qualificiations of certain specified EEO program officials were reviewed by the agency and that t!e officials met the pertinent EEO qualification standards. -- EEO officials, especially collateral duty employees, were not always adequately experienced in peisonnel matters or sufficiently trained to properly perform their EEO duties. -- Agencies were not adequately supervising, controlling, and evaluating employees performing EEO functions on a collateral duty basis. -- CSC had not issued current qualification standards for EEO positions. RECOMMENDATIONS We recommend that the Chairman of CSC: --Emphasize that agencies should better plan and imple- ment their discrimination complaint systems so that system? objectives are met. Agency planning and imple- mentation should include a more systematic approach to placing and structuring systems; obtaining top man- agemet commitment; determining financial resources to be applied; and analyzing manpower needs, such as deciding on full-time n, part-time staffing, deciding 19 on staffing representation, documenting that the qual- fications of individuals occupying certain EEO posi- tions have been reviewed, determining training needs of EEO staff, and monitoring and evaluating employees performing EEO functions on a collateral duty basis. --Complete a rev.ew of qualification standards for EEO positions. -- Issue additional and more specific guidance to agencies for accumulating and reporting complaint system costs. We also recommend that the heads of the departments and agencies reviewed take the action necessary to better plan and implement their discrimination complaint systems so that system objectives are met. CSC COMMENTS AND ACTIONS In a November 22, 1976, letter (see app. III), the CSC Executive Director outlined the following actions taken or being taken concerning discrimination complaint system plan- ning and implementation: --CSC concurs with the need for reei )hasis of planning and implementation of agency systems and for effective evaluation by EEO program officials of employees who are performing EEO functions on a collateral duty basis. Federal Personnel Manual Letter 713-35, dated Apr_l 30, 1976, updated the regulations and policy issuances governing the development of effectively managed com- plaint systems. CSC has required documentation from agencies of the qualifications of major program offi- cials in the EEO plan evaluation program and estab- lished work groups consisting of staff from major agencies for the purpose of screening and evaluating materials currently used to train EEO counselors and investigators. CSC's goal is to develop training mo- dules for use Government-wide, with a view to standard- izing high quality training for EEO counselors and in- vestigators and requiring CSC certification. -- Federal Personnel Manual Letter 713-35 requires certi- fication that the qualifications of all EEO staff officials, full-time or part-time, including the Director of EEO, have been reviewed by competent authority and that those in these positions meet the standards in "Qualifications Handbook X-118 under EEO 20 Specialist GS-160" or "Qualifications Guide for Col- lateral Assignments Involving Equal Employment Oppor- tunity Duties." New written grade evaluation and qualification standards are to be issued by CSC, which believes they will adequately deal with the issues identified. -- CSC believes that the revised cost reporting feature of the EEO plan outlined in FPM v'tter 713-35 may elicit more reliable cost data m agencies but that additional work needs to be done n relating costs reported in the EEO plan to those reported to CSC in annual reports or civil rights expenditures gathered and consolidated for the Office of Management and Budget. In cur opinion, the above CSC actions, if adequately im- plemented and continued, will improve complaint system planning and implementation. We believe, however, that the guidance to agencies for accumulating and reporting complaint system costs needs to be made more specific on how cost data should be developed. This guidance should explain, for example, how actual counseling costs should be determined so that reporting will be consistent. 21 CHAPTER 3 FAIRNESS AND IMPARTIALITY Discrimination complaint systems should be both fair and impartial and be so perceived by employees. Fairness and im- partiality are relative standards, that is, one individual's perception of them may not coincide with another's because in- dividual backgrounds, experiences, and expectations vary. Our review assessed the fairness and impartiality of systems primarily from a procedural standpoint without evaluating decisions made on individual complaint cases. Fairness and impartiality require that complaints be processed ad judged in a consistent manner and that a11 parties to a complaint be afforded equal protection of their individual rights. A sys- tem so designed should include, but not be limited to, the follo-w ing: -- Controls adequate to achieve consistency in accepting- rejecting complaints. -- Piotection of individual rights, including properly apprising individuals of their rights and affording them cy opportunity to exercise their rights. -- Providing investigators, examiners, and other equal employment opportunity officials adequate independence in deciding cases on their merit. -- Controls to preclude reprisals or intimidation of employees filing complaints. The Civil Service Cmmission is responsible for adminis- tering a discrimination complaint system that provides for the prompt, fair, and impartial consideration of complaints filed by Federal employees or applicants for Federal employ- ment. Further, CSC is responsible for issuing regulations, orders, and instructions to Federal agencies implementing such systems. CSC, in carrying out these responsibilities, designed a system (see app. I) that provides for specific processing stages and for employee appeal rights. The system also em-- phasizes the desirability of complaint resolution on an infor- mal basis. The system concept, to enhance fairness anA in- partiality, includes provisions that: 22 -- Complainants be apprised of their rights at various stages of complaint processing. -- Individuals investigating complaints be assigned from organizational elements separate from where complaints emanate. -- Individuals conducting hearings be assigned from an agency other than the one in which the complaint Ior ginated. -- Established procedures be followed in handling repri- sal complaints following the filing of discrimination complaints. -- Complainants be provided the right to appeal an agency decision to CSC. -- Complainants be provided the right to file a civil suit subsequent to agency or CSC decision. COMPLAINANTS GENERALLY APPRISED OF AND AFFORDED RIGHTS CSC regulations provide that complainants be apprised of and afforded their rights during both the informal and formal complaint stage. We believe that generally complainants were informed during the formal stage. Many complainants inter- viewed, however, primarily those complaining informally, stated they were not made aware of all rights. Rights of complainants during informal counseling CSC regulations require that during the informal coun- seling stage complainants be -- advised of their right to confidentiality, that is, their right not to be named when counselors gather information relative to complaint issues; -- advised of their right to have a representative with them; and -- notified in writing of their right to file a formal complaint if not satisfied with the informal resolu- tion or if counseling has not been completed in 21 days. 23 About 185 persons in the nine agencies who complained informally were interviewed. They did not believe they were advised of their -- right to confidentiality (72 cases), -- right to have a representative with them (47 cases), and -- right to file a formal complaint (23 cases). Counselors said, however, that it was the general practice to advise informal complainants of their rights. We are unable to substantiate the statements made by the complainants or counselors because of the lack of documentary evidence. A problem noted with the right to confidentiality issue was that if complainants exercised their right to confidenti- ality, counselors could not fully pursue the facts, thereby negatively affecting te complainants' cases. However, if the complainants' confidentiality was unprotected, managers and supervisors would learn of the complaint, thereby in- creasing the chances of reprisal. Though we believe that the counselor should discuss with the complainant anything which limits his or her pursing the facts in the case because of confidentiality, the complainant's wish should b honored. Rights of formal complainants CSC regulations require that a formal complainant be ad- vised of the right to request a hearing, appeal an agency decision to CSC, and file a civil action within 180 days if the complaint is not resolved or within 30 calendar days of receipt of a notice of final decision by the agency or by CSC in cases appealed to CSC. CSC guidance emphasizes the importance of advising com- plainants of their rghts in several stages of the formal con- plaint process, with notification letters made part of the complaint file. In addition, the reverse side of the CSC complaint filing form, which agencies have an option of using, provides a basic statement of complainant rights. We determined through interviews with complainants and review of complaint files that generally formal complainants were advised of chese rights, though all required documenta- tion was not present in some complaint files. We were un- able, however, to determine whether this constituted an 24 administrative problem or represented instances in which employees were not apprised of their right. CSC regulations also provide that the complainant or agency has the right to request reopening by CSC's Commis- sioners of an Appeal Review Board decision upon presentation of evidence which tends to establish that -- new and material evidence is available that was not readily available when the previous decison was issued; -- the pi vious decision involves an erroneous inter- pretation of law or regulation or misapplication of established policy; or ---the previous decision is of a precedential nature involving a new or unreviewed policy consideration that may have effects beyond the case at hand or is otherwise of such an exceptional nature as to merit the personal attention of the Commissioners. CSC places -ore emphasis on the right to appeal to the Appeals Review Board than on the right to request reopening by CSC's Commissioners. This is evidenced by CSC's guidance, which provides that complainants be advised of their right to appeal to the Appeals Review Board but does not emphasize their right to request reopening by CSC's Commissioners. AGENCIES NOT CONSISTENT IN REJECTING/CANCELING COMPLAINTS CSC regulations provide that complaints be rejected if they: -- Are not filed within pecified time limits. -- Involve matters identical to matters set forth in a previous complaint by the complainant which was either pending or ajudicated. -- Are not within the purview of the regulations. For example, unacceptable allegations fail to be (1) based on discrimination on the basis or race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or age or (2) made in connection with an mployment matter over which the agency has jurisdiction. 25 CSC regulations also provide that: "Even though the allegations contained in a com- plaint meet the regulatory requirements outlined above, agency officials should not accept for investigation any allegations which are so vague or general that no spec- fic issues can be defined which pertain to the alleged discrimination suffered by the complainant and which thus could be investigated. If vague or general al- legations cannot be made more specific by reference to the EEO counselor's report, the official should give the complainant an opportunity to furnish more specific information on such allegations in an attempt to define the issue or issues which the employee or applicant is raising. If the complainant is unable or refuses to furnish such information within a reasonable period of time, the official should cancel the vague or general allegaions of the complaint for failure of the com- plainant ' prosecute them and advise the complainant in writing of his or her rights of appeal." Though CSC guidelines attempt to show a difference be- tween rejecting and canceling a complaint, the wording of the regulations can create confusion as to whether vague or gen- eral allegations with unspecific issues can be rejected. The confusion results because the above quoted regulation uses the term "should not accept" in discussing cancellation. This term, however, implies rejection. Though the regulations provide for rejection of com-- plaints, agencies generally did not reject complaints. Of- ficials in most agencies informed us that the general feeling was that if the employee maintained that he or she was discriminated against, the complaint would be accepted and investigated. The regulations of the Department of the Interior, how- ever, were at variance with CSC regulations in that they re- quired the complainant to show an adverse impact before the agency would accept the complaint. Further, in this agency, complaints were reviewed at the constituent agency level and, if rejected at this level, could be appealed to the depart- mental level. CSC regulations specify, however, that com- plainants should be provided the right to appeal a rejection directly to CSC. The lack of specificity in formal complaints has an ad- verse impact on case processing. In early 1975 CSC began 26 stricter enforcement of EEO regulations, with increased emphasis on specificity of issues. With increased emphasis on specificity apparently being expressed by CSC as demon- strated by its remanding of cases, it appears agencies are becoming more concerned aoout specificity. It was noted during our review that Ale Department of Transportation had recently started placing emphasis on getting complaint issues clearly defined be>oe commencing an investigation. In our oplnior, such practice should improve both the effectiveness and efficiency of complaint processing by Federal agencies. NEED TO PRECLUDE MISUSE OF THE COMPLAINT SYSTEM EEO officials in every agency we reviewed believed that complaints which were not EEO related entered and were pro- cessed through the discrimination complaint system. There was no agreement, however, as to the extent of such occur- rences. but the general view was that this constituted a fairly important problem. Officials in at least seven agen- cies stated that some of tile complaints were actually grie- vances, but complainants preferred using the complaint sys- tem instead of the system established for handling grievances, because the complaint system was perceived to offer more visibility for their problems and a better chance for a favor- able outcome, This problem and its impact on the complaint system are compounded further by the fact that agencies interpret CSC regulations to mean, in effect, that if an employee files a complaint alleging discrimination, the complaint must be in- vestigated. As a result, it may take an expensive and time- consuming investigation to rove that the individual was or was not discriminated against. We received comments that a few unions had encouraged employees to use the EO complaint system whenever they had a problem. Processing complaints that should not be in the complaint system increases agencies' workload and places further strains on staffs and financial resources. Also, it hs a negative effect on the credibility of the system from the perspective of management and supervisory personnel, whose commitment to the system is necessary for program success. In addition, handling such complaints can delay processing legitimate com- plaints. 27 NEED TO EMPHASIZE FREEDOM FROM REPRISAL The atmosphere following a discrimination complaint is such that actions taken by management subsequently involving or affectinq the complainant can be construed by complainants as an act of eprisal].. The comments of some officials or employees in rviewed, particularly complainants, support this iw. EEO officials in agencies reviewed varied in their opinions as to whether reprisals were being suppressed, were increasing, or constituted a problem. Fear of reprisal or actual reprisals wer_ of concern to complainants and individuals who had no:: filed Of 138 employees who had not filed complaints, complaints. 28 cited fear of reprisal as of concern to them and a factor that would bear on a decison to file a complaint. Also, of about 100 complainants interviewed about one-half alleged that they had ten subjected to reprisals; however, most of those in- dividuals citing reprisals had not officially notified the agency or the reprisal actions. Typi of reprisals cited by complainants included reduced promotional opportunities, more difficult working environment and pressures, supervisory harassment, being subjected to closer scrutiny, and the leaking of personal and/or confidential information. Though the facts regarding reprisals are far from con- clusive, there is a need for CSC to reemphasize to agencies their obligation to see that complainants are not subjected to reprisal. Further, though there was no consensus for separating a complainant from his or her supervisor when the supervisor was the alleged discriminatory official, officials in some agencies believed it could be beneficial depending on the situation and individuals involved. NEED FOR REEXAMINATION OF THE RIGHTS OF ALLEGED DISCRIMINATORY OFFICIALS CSC's position is that te employee named as an alleged discriminatory official is not a party to the discrimination complaint proceeding and that the complaint is against the agency and not against a particular individual. As a result, alleied discriminatory officials (1) are not permitted to at- tend official discrimination complaint hearings except as witnesses, because CSC has taken the position that the agency and not th? alleged discriminatory official is a party to the proceeding, (2) have been asked to make statements for inclu- sion in investigative iles without being formally advised, in some cases, that th, have been accused of discrimination 28 or of the issues involved in the case, (3) may not review the investigative file, and (4) are not always advised of the status or results of their cases. Such actions, in our opinion, do not enhance the credibility of the complaint system. Alleged discriminatory and EEO officials in most agen- cies expressed corcern that the complaint system, as cur- rently operated, eprives alleged discriminatory officials of proper rights because they are not allowed to participate in the complaint proceeding though disciplinary action can be taken against them as the result of a discrimination com- plaint. Alleged discriminatory and EEO officials advised us that the rights of alleged discriminatory officials were not speci- fically protected because -- they were not notified when proposed disposition or final decision was reached by an agency or CSC, -- they may not know they have been accused c' discrimina- tion or what they have been accused of, -- tney are not provided the opportunity to refute state- ments made by complainants, -- they are not suffic.ently informed of the status of complaints, -- the charges of discrimination were vague, and --the charges of discrimination were directed at those following agency policies and procedures and not at those responsible for creation of the policies and procedures. In some instances, contradictory to CSC guidance, we noted that alleged discriminatory officials were allowed to have access to investigative reports and complaint files. POTENTIAL CODNFLICTS MAY EXIST WHEN EEO OFFICiALS ARE NAMED AS ALLEGED DISC RIMINATORY OFFICIALS EEO officials ate sometimes named by complainants as alleged discriminatory officials. The administrative pro- cessing of complaints by these officials can create the~ 29 appearance, if not the fact, of a conflict of interest. CSC has not provided guidance nor have agencies developed pro- cedures for the appropriate handling of these cases. At least Agriculture and Transportation though, had taken action to alleviate the conflict situation by not allowing EEO officials to beccme involved in cases in which they were alleged discriminatory officials. In one agency, however, the director of a regional office, who was also the EEO officer, was cited along with the personnel officer as an alleged dis- criminatory official. These officials were involved in developing the proposed disposition of the case, thereby creating a conflict-of-interest situation. COMPLAINT SYSTEM NOT ALWAYS PERCEIVED TO BE FAIR AND IMPARTIAL Though regulations provide for complaint systems to oper- ate in a fair and impartial manner, complainants and EEO staff members expressed concern about system fairness and imparti- ality. Of 114 complainants interviewed, 62 believed their om- plaints were handled with fairness and impartiality, but 46 did not. Complainant beliefs varied significantly between agencies and between headquarters and field locations. Rea- sons cited by complainants included these: --Counselors were not objective in resolving complaints. -- Counselors were not devoting enough time to resolving complaints. -- The complaint process was partial toward management. --Complaint processing took too long. -- Agencies were not providing corrective actions as pro- mised. -- Investigators were not objective or adequately trained to conduct thorough investigations. Most counselors and other EEO staff members interviewed believed that the complaint system operated in a fair and impartial manner. Of 88 EEO staff members interviewed, 16 did not believe the system was fair and impartial. Reasons cited included these: 30 --The system could be misused by employees. -- The system favored management. -- Supervisors, at times, would not cooperate on complaint cases. EMPLOYEES NOT KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT COMPLAINT SYSTEM Most employees interviewed had been made aware of the complaint system through various means, including posters and publications. In fact, 413 of 467 employees had some know- ledge of the system. However, a large majority of these em- ployees did not know details of the system. Also, there were indications that agencies were not informing applicants about the system. CONCLUSIONS Though agencies' discrimination complaint systems were generally designed to be fair and impartial, the following problem areas were noted: -- Complainants were not always made aware of and af- forded all of their rights. --CSC guidance does not adequately protect the right of complainants to request reopening of their case:; by CSC Commissioners when new evidence becomes available. -- CSC guidance on rejecting and canceling complaints was not fully clear on whether vague or general allegations could be rejected. --Agencies were not consistent in rejecting and canceling complaints. --Fear. of reprisals or actual reprisals were of concern to complainants and individuals who had not filed com- plaints. -- Rights of alleged discriminatory officials require reexamination. -- Complaints which were not EEO related were processed through the discrimination complaint system. 31 --jLO officials named as alleged discriminatory officials can become involved in potential conflict- of-interest situations. -- Complainants and EEO staff members had cor :erns about the fairness and impartiality of certain aspects of the complaint system. -- Not all applicants for employment and employees were knowledgeable about the complaint system. RECOMMENDATIONS We recommend that the Chairman of CSC: -- Emphasize to agencies the importance of generally apprising all complainants of and affording them their rights. Consideration should be given to apprising complainants of their rights in a standard- ized format, such as on a printed card. -- Issue more definitive guidance on apprising com- plainants of their rights to request reopening of their cases by CSC's ommissioners when new evidence becomes available. -- Provide more definitive guidance on rejecting and canceling complaints, including the variance between the two actions and employee rights as a result of each action. -- Emphasize to agencies the necessity of rejecting and canceling complaints in a consistent manner. -- Reemphasize to agencies their obligation to see that complainants are not being subjected to re- prisal actions. -- Reexamine the rights of alleged discriminatory officials with a view towards impr-viiig protection of their rights, especially with Lespect to providing full consideration o their due process rights. ---Issue more definitive guidance to agencies on actions that should be taken to avoid potential conflict-of-interest situations when EEO officers are named as alleged discriminatory officials. 32 -- Require that agencies take measures to properly inform all employees and applicants for employment of the complaint system. We also recommend that the heads of the departments and agencies reviewed make certain that -- all complainants are apprised of and afforded their rights, -- complaints are rejected and canceled in a consistent manner, and -- complainants are not being subjected to reprisal actions. AGENCY COMMENTS In response, CSC said the following (see app. III): -- While it has no evidence that there is a major problem of complainants not being apprised of and afforded their rights, it will look into the need for additional guidance in this area. -- Revised guidance, to be issued, and handbooks accompanying the new regulations will exrlain more definitively the right of complainants t request reconsideration by CSC. -- It has proposed revisions to its regulations to deal with the need for more definitive guidance on re- jecting and canceling complaints, and it expects that these revisions, if adopted, will make gency decisions consistent in this regard. CSC agrees that employees need to better understand the differences in processing requirements for grievances and complaints and stated that it can intensify training efforts so that counselors can provide better advice to aggrieved persons. CSC stated that reprisal is a problem of much concern, as indicated by the rising number of complaints and charges on this basis, and that it expects: to continue to stress to agencies' EEO program officials their responsibilities to see that complainants are not subjected to reprisal. CSC advised us that the complex subject of the rights of alleged 33 discriminatory officials is under review, and they expect to issue detailed guidance which will substantially expand the rights of these officials. CSC further advised us that guidance to agencies on conflict-of-interest questions is now provided on a case-by- case basis, but the subject will be included in a handbook for EEO officers now in draft form. In our opinion, the above CSC actions, if adequately implemented and continued, will improve the fairness and impartiality of the discrimination complaint system. In addition to these actions, we believe CSC should intensify training efforts not only for EEO counselors but also for other appropriate EEO officials on the differences between qrievances and EEO complaints. In our continuing reviews of the EEO program for ederal employees and job applicants, we plan to evaluate the effectiveness of CSC s actions. 34 CHAPTER 4 RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINTS The Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, Executive Order 11478, and the Civil Service Commission regulaticns provide various means and opportunities for resolving complaints by employees who believe they have been discrim- inated against. These opportunities include, but ae rot limi'ed to: -- Counseling to attempt to resolve matters on an in- formal basis. -- The right to file a formal complaint which, if accepted, must be investigated by the agency. --The right to appeal to CSC if not satisfied with the agency decision or review. -- Access to the civil court system if not satisfied with final action made on the complaint by the agency or CSC's Appeals Review Board. The EEO act and CSC regulations encourage resolution of complaints on an informal basis. This appears logical and well founded since it is less costly to resolve complaints informally than on a formal basis. Another benefit is that the length of time a complainant's case takes to resolve is much less if complaints are resolved at the informal stage. Although available information was inconclusive, it indi- cated that agencies generally appeared to emphasize informal resolution of complaints. When discrimination is found to be present, agencies are authorized to take certai actions, including: -- Making appropriate remedies, including reinstatement or hiring of employees or applicants for employment with or without backpay. -- Correcting personnel management deficiencies which allowed discrimination to occur. --Taking disciplinary action, if warranted, against discriminatory officials. 35 We found that agencies generally were making seemingly appropriate remedies but were not correcting personnel management deficiencies or taking disciplinary action against discriminatory officials when findings of discrimination were made. We id not attempt to assess the quality of the decisions made in resolving complaints. NEED FOR IMPROVED DATA OR ALTERNATE PROCEDURES FOR ASSESSING INFORMAL RESOLUTION The importance and success of the informal resolution stage was not determinable because informal complaint statistics were not accurate in the nine agencies reviewed. We believe the statistics were overstated in most instances, although in some cases reported data was understated. CSC and the agencies we reviewed generally interpreted the percentage of cases that were resolved in the informal stage to indicate the importance and success of informal resolution through counseling. Government-wide statistics showed that approximately 90 percent of informal complaints were resolved in this stage. The statistics in support of this percentage, however, were not reliable. Although CSC requires agencies to submit monthly reports of precomplaint activity (number o informal cases), no agency reviewed consistently compiled accurate pre- complaint statistics. Agency reports were overstated for a variety of reasons, including these: -- Information inquiries or non-EEO complaints, in addition to true precomplaint counselings, were included in statistics. -- Individual counselings reported in one month were also reported in other months. -- Numbe: of allegations rather than number of counsel- ings were shown on monthly reports. -- Clerical errors were made in preparing the reports. The inaccurate and misleading statistics resulted, in our opinion, because of unclear CSC guidance for the agencies and lack of proper care by the agencies in c .Oucing the monthly reports. The monthly reports form was subject to 36 different interpretation because of its lack of clarity. Specifically, the guidance and report form were not clear on what constituted a precomplaint occurrence. We attempted to assess the importance and success of the informal resolution stage by reviewing individual complaint cases at field locations in each agency reviewed. Our review, though affected by incomplete or unavailable data on the part of the agencies and its counselors, indicated that agencies generally emphasized informal reso- lution of complaints. CSC requires counselors to submit a report for individual cases only if a formal complaint is filed and does not require counselors to retain official documentation on cases resolved informally. CSC does re- quire counselors to keep notes to brief EEO officers periodically on counseling activities. Counselors' notes were nonexistent or very brief. The most reliable infor- mation, th;ref-re, concerned cases which became formal. BASIS FOR AND CAUSES OF NFORMAL COMPLAINTS Government-wide statistics, though not entirely reli- able for reasons cited above, showed that informal complaints were made on the following bases in fiscal years 1972 to 1975. Percent Fit al year increase from 192 31974 _________________ 1 TTfiscal year 1972 Basis Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Numberto fiscal year 1975 Race/color 11,733 69.7 16,988 63.8 18,029 57.3 19,398 52.4 65 Religion 420 2.5 599 2.2 713 2.3 833 2.3 98 Sex (female) 2,833 16.8 4,819 18.1 6,925 22.0 8,404 22.7 197 Sex (male) 786 4.7 1,414 5.3 3,482 11.1 3,897 10.5 396 National origin 1,061 6.3 2,807 10.6 2,16G 6.9 2,41. 6.5 128 Age (b) (b) j b) 130 0.4 2,073 5.6 (b) Total 16,833 100.0 26,627 100.0 3 ,445 100.0 37,021 100.0 119 a/The fiscal year 1975 data on the basis of informal complairnts was the most recent available s of January 12, 1977. b/Not applicable for these years. 37 CSC did not compile Government-wide information on the causes of informal complaints. However, we obtained infor- mation on the causes of informal complaints in two agencies. Air Force Matters (Mar. 1973 Postal Service resulting in through Dec. 1974) (fiscal year 1975) informal Number of Percentage Number of Percentage counseling informal cases of total informal cases of total Initial appointment 186 4.2 1,074 8.6 Promotion 1,266 27.9 1,812 14.5 Reaqsignment 465 10.2 1,056 8.4 Separation 184 4.1 981 7.8 Suspension 25 .1 785 6.3 Reprimand 66 1.4 1,644 13.2 Duty hours 181 4.1 763 6.1 Job training 253 5.6 468 3.7 Detail 173 3.8 673 5.4 Other 1,755 38.6 3,251 26.0 Total 4,554 100.0 12,507 100.0 CORRECTIVE ACTIONS IN INFORMAL STAGE CSC records indicate that many cases result in corrective action after counseling at the informa' stage. There were 6,817 corrective actions (40 percent Cf the complaint cases) in fiscal year 1972; 12,594 corrective actions (47 percent of the complaint cases) in fiscal year 1973; and 11,080 (35 percent of the complaint cases) in fiscal year 1974. Information on the types of corrective actions taken was not compiled by CSC nor readily available from most agencies we reviewed. However, we obtained information at two agencies on corrective actions resulting after counseling. 38 Interior (Mar. 1973 through Postal Service Type of Dec. 1974) (fiscal yeal 1975) corrective Number oT Percent Number of Percent action actions of total actions of total Agency improved personnel practices (note a) 61 15.8 1,355 35.3 Promotion given 59 15.3 143 3.7 Training opportunity given 47 12.2 246 6.4 Reappointment/ reinstatement 23 5.9 112 2.9 Requested reassignment given 35 9.1 176 4.6 Adverse action reduced or rescinded 23 5.9 336 8.8 Other disciplinary action reduced or rescinded 14 3.6 318 8.3 Priority consideration for next promotion 79 20.5 114 3.0 Other 45 11.7 1,040 27.0 Total 386 100.0 3,840 100.0 a/Training policies clarified, changes in hiring procedures, improvement of upward mobility programs, and planning and publication of awards program, etc. FORMAL RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINTS Formal complaint cases were well documented and irfor- mation relative to such cases was readily available and appeared to be reasonably accurate, especially when compared to the statistics on informal complaints. BASIS FOR AND CAUSES OF FORMAL COMPLAINTS Government-wide statistics showed that formal complaints were made on the bases presented in the chart on the following page in fiscal years 1972 to 1975 and during the first half of fiscal year 1976. 39 Percent increase from fiscal Fiscal /ear year 1972 July-December 157' 1973 1974 1975 to fiscal 7 1975 P^ enet NmbePen t Number Percent ze 19 5 Number Percent Oasis Number Percent Number 60.5 2.074 58.6 1,159 52.7 152 1,841 51.3 RaPe color 1,256 68.5 1,661 150 4.2 137 5.0 149 4.2 216 3.6 141 Rel iion 49 2.7 290 660 18.4 294 16.0 551 20.1 748 . .1 1,147 19.1 SPx female) 411 22' 6.A 67 1.7 123 4.5 217 6.1 156 6.0 Sex mau!) Nat itoalI 564 9.4 236 324 9.1 oriqin 168 9.1 271 9.9 329 9.1 25 .7 550 9.2 (a) 3a4 10.7 Aqe (a) _( _(3) _ (a) 3541 100.0 5,992 lqO.0 227 58 100.0 Total 1,834 100.0 2,743 100.0 a'Not asplicdble for these years. The July to December 1975 data on the bases for formel complaints was the most recent data available as of January 12, 1977. CSC could provide Government-wide data on the causes of complaints only for fiscal year 1974. Causes for complaints usually were related to personnel actions. The primary cause for complaints concerned promotions (28 percent of the cases). Other primary causes of complaints and percentages of occurrence, in order of cited incidence, were separation (8.4 percent), harassment (7.0 percent), work conditions (6.2 percent), suspension (4.9 percent), nonselection (4.3 percent), and training (4.1 percent). Specific reasons cited for complaints concerning pro- motion were: -- Preselection which may virIate the CSC Merit Promotion Plan. -- Lack of communication or poor relationship between supervisors and subordinates regarding subordinates' performance. The basis, cause, and volume of complaints at agencies and installations within agencies often were influenced greatly by factors such as differences in work force composition, agency functions, and degree of union involve- ment. Specific examples are: -- An agency had few complaints based on age because many of its positions had statutory age limits. 40 -- An agency had a large number ot complaints involving training because training was an unusually important factor for advancement in the ageincy. -- An agency had few complaints overall because most of its employees occupied high level positions. Also, its work force had few females and/or minorities. -- Members of unions filed complaints at rates far in excess of other employee at an agency installation. CORRECTIVE ACTIONS ON FORMAL COMPLAINTS The only Government-wide data available for corrective actions taken on formal cases was for fiscal year 1974. This data indicated that 881 corrective actions (34 percent of total formal complaints for iscal year 1974) had occurred. The primary types of corrective action taken and percentages of occurrence were: -- Promotion made (15.7 percent). -- Reassignment made (6.5 percent). -- Removal of adverse materials from personnel folders (6.0 percent). -- Awards of backpay 5.6 percent). -- Reinstatement made 5.1 percent,. -- Retroactive promotion made (4.4 percent). --Priority consideration for next vacancy provided (4.1 percent). --Training given (4.0 percent). -- Manacement practices improved (3.4 percent). AGENCY DISPOSITION OF CASES Data obtained from CSC showed, as presented on the following page, the number of cases decided on merit, with- drawn, rejected, and canceled for fiscal years 1973, 1974, 1975, and July through December 1975. 41 Fiscal Year July-December 1973 1974 1975 1975 Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Decision on the merits 865 44 1,410 53 1,855 47 1,059 46 Withdrawn 773 39 870 33 1,359 34 728 31 Rejected 260 13 265 10 514 16 424 18 Canceled 75 4 105 4 132 3 108 5 Total 1,973 100 2,650 100 3,960 100 2,319 100 COMPLAINTS ACTED ON BY APPEALS REVIEW BOARD The number of complainants filing appeals with CSC's Appeals Review Board after final agency decisions has in- creased yearly since fiscal year 1973. The Appeals Review Board received 677 cases in fiscal year 1973, 808 in fiscal year 1974, and 1,121 in fiscal year 1975. The Appeals Review Board received and processed cases in fiscal years 1973, 1974, and 1975, as follows: Fiscal year 1973 1974 1975 Closed 685 727 749 Canceled 10 51 54 Action not completed 158 188 506 Total appeals handled 853 966 1,309 The disposition of cases closed by the Appeals Review Board in fiscal years 1973, 1974, and 1975 was: Fiscal ear 1973 1973 19 975 Affirmed agency decision 616 595 564 Reversed agency decision 44 50 74 Remanded (sent back) to agency 25 82 111 Total 685 727 749 42 COMPLAINTS APPEALED TO CSC COMMISSIONERS CSC regulations provide that the complainant or agency has the right to request CSC's Commissioners to reopen an Appeals Review Board decision upon presentation of certain evidence. There were requests for reopening 33 cases in fiscal year 1973, 55 in fiscal year 1974, and 12 during July to December 1974. CSC's Commissioners reopened for investi- gation 7 of these 100 cases. FINDINGS OF DISCRIMINATION Official findings of discrimination occur when cases proceed through the complaint system process to a final agency decision. Available data concerning findings of discrimination, therefore, did not include cases resolved by agencies after counseling at the informal stage. It is also important to note that after a complaints examiner conducts a hearing, he or she issues only a recommended decision which an agency may adopt, reject, or modify. However, when an agency has failed to issue a final decision on the complaint within 180 days, an examiner's recommendation fo- a finding of discrimination will become binding 30 days af- ter the recommendation is made. The following data indicates the findings of discrimination by complaints examiners and agencies for cases decided on merit in fiscal years 1973 and 1974. Fiscal year 1973 1974 (note a) Cases decided Number Findings of Number Findings of on merit of cases discrimination of cases discrimination Overall 840 179 1,410 181 By agencies (no hearings) 333 66 767 72 By complaints examiners (hearings) 507 113 643 109 a/Most recent data available as of January 30, 1976. 43 Agencies did not agree and rejected the complaints examiners' decisions when the examiner found discrimination much more often than hen he or she did not find discrimi- nation. The followin, data shows statistics on agencies' rejections of examiners' decisions: Fiscal year Hearings and rejections 1973 1974 Hearings conducted 507 643 Number of rejections 26 36 Number of findings of discrimination 113 109 Agency rejected findings of discrimination 23 29 Number of findings of no discrimination 394 534 Agency rejected findings of no discrimination 3 7 NEED TO IDENTIFY PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT OEFICIENCIES AND SYSTEMIC DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES CSC guidance for investigating individual complaint cases discusses, but does not emphasize, surveying the general environment for detecting agencies' patterns or practices which may lad to discrimination. In addition, agencies are authorized to correct personnel management deficiencies which allow dis-rimination to occur. Agencies have not identified, to any great degree, personnel management deficiencies that cause discrimination to occur. Officials in most agencies we reviewed said that discrimination does not result from improper personnel policies and procedures but is due to misapplication or lack of adherence to policies and procedures. Neither CSC nor the nine agencies we reviewed had made any major attempt or achieved progress in identifying the system's discriminatory practices. Several ELO officials questioned the ability of current EFO officers and investi- gators to deal effectively with such discrimination. An official of CSC's Office of Federal Equal Employment Oppor- tunity advised us that most EEO officers are not capable of dealing with the system's discriminatory practices because they do not adequately communicate with personnel officals. However, in our opinion, efforts to improve 44 this communication will have to be made by both personnel officials and EEO officers. LITTLE DISCIPLINARY ACTION TAKEN BY AGENCIES Agencies were generally not taking disciplinary action against discriminatory officials when findings of tion are made, although they were authorized to discrimina- do so. Selected information obtained at agencies reviewed shows: -- Two documented cases of disciplinary action taken agencywide in a 16-month period ending April 1975, though 113 cases were closed involving 9 findings of discrimination during this period. -- No disciplinary action taken agencywide for the 30- month period ending December 1974. This agency closed 159 cases involving 3 findings of discrimina- tion during this time frame. -- Disciplinary action taken in 1 case during a 32- month period ending August 1975, though the agency closed 724 cases involving 20 findings of discrim- ination during this period. --No disciplinary action taken in fiscal year 1974 and the first half of fiscal year 1975, though 06 cases were closed involving 2 findings of discrimina- tion during this time frame. The kind of disciplinary action usually taken was to issue letters of reprimand to discriminatory officials. Officials in the agencies we reviewed provided the following reasons for the rarity of disciplinary action: -- The investigation itself is punishment enough for the alleged discriminatory official. -- Discrimination cases are not clear cut and/or overt. In addition, some agency officials informed us that informal disciplinary actions such as training and reassign- ment are taken by agencies at times rather than formal disc'plinary actions. Officials in two agencies advised us that many of the more serious or overt cases were resolved early in the complaint process, thereby resulting in no 45 disciplinary action because no official findings of discrimination were made in such cases. APPEALING CASES TO CIVIL COURTS CSC did not have a complete count of the number of complaint cases appealed to civil courts. CSC, however, using information provided by the Department of Justice, reported that as of September 1975 about 500 cases were pending in courts. There has been continual concern about the costs to complainants of appealing their complaint cases to civil courts. CSC has taken the position that it is in the best interest of each agency's EEO program to facilitate volunteer representation for complainants to the extent possible and practicable. The District of Columbia Bar and other bar associations have established programs for providing volunteer legal representation to Federal employees in connection with complaints of employment discrimination. Also, in October 1975, CSC took the position that a conflict-of-interest situation would not exist if Federal employees who are attorneys represent complainants in discrimination complaint cases. Hence, an agency may grant official time away from normal duties to its em- ployees, including attorneys, for the purposes of repre- senting other employees in the same agency. In this regard, the Attorney General of the United Stetes has authorized attorneys in the Department of Justice to use official time in certain circumstances for the purpose of repre- senting employees of other agencies in EEO complaint cases. CONCLUSIONS The importance and success of the informal resolution stage were not determinable because of unreliable statistical information. We believe informal resolution statistics were overstated in most instances. We believe that though CSC and the agencies generally interpreted the percentage of cases resolved in the informal stage to indicate the importance and success of informal resolution counseling, this is not a valid, conclusive technique because of un- reliable statistics and lack of knowledge about how many of these cases would have become formal had an informal resolution not been attempted. Agencies, when findings of discrimination were made, were generally making seemingly appropriate remedies but 46 were not correcting personnel management deficiencies or taking disciplinary action against discriminatory officals. Although CSC in its guidance to agencies provides that each agency requires its EEO director to make changes in agency programs and procedures to eliminate discriminatory practices, CSC has not directed its primary attention to the subject of systemic discriminatory practices. CSC's primary efforts have been directed almost solely at the processing of individual complaints. RECOMMENDATIONS We recommend that the Chairman of CSC: -- Direct that CSC and the agencies make a more con- certed effort to identify personnel management deficiencies by systematically analyzing the experience on completed complaint cases. -- Direct that CSC (both on a Government-wide and individual agency basis) and the agencies make a more active effort to identify and eliminate systemic discriminatory practices and develop management controls or mechanisms to monitor and evaluate progress and accountability in identifying and eliminating such practices. -- Reexamine the circumstances under which discip- linary action is to be taken, while making certain in the meantime that agencies are consistent and fair in taking disciplinary action against discrim- inatory officials. We also recommend that the heads of the agencies reviewed make a more concerted effort to identify personnel management deficiencies and identify systemic discrim- inatory practices. AGENCY COMhENTS CSC advised us that it does not contemplate at this time a revision of its present position that disciplinary action is a personnel management decision which properly belongs to the agency within which the complaint arises. CSC said it does not believe that a uniform table of penalties is appropriate, but rather that any disciplinary 47 action taken should give due consideration to the circum- stances of each case. We agree with CSC that due consideration should be given to the circumstances in each case. However, in the interest of agencies' consistency and fairness in taking disciplinary action against discriminatory officials, we believe that CSC should provide guidance as to the types of circumstances under which disciplinary action should be taken. CSC also advised us that i believes that currently available data, while not comprehensive or complete, has offered significant insights into the relative frequency with which specific personnel actions and other matters have formed the basis for complaints. CSC also believes that its new reporting procedures, together with its current system for indexing decisions, will provide it with an enhanced capability to yvstematica ly analyze complaint issues to identify manac ent problems giving rise to complaints. 48 CHAPTER 5 TIMELINESS OF COMPLAINT PROCESSING Quantitative standards for processing discrimination complaints were established by th Equal Employment Opportun- ity Act of 1972 and the Civil Service Commission regulations to enhance system effectiveness. The act states that a complainant may file a civil action -- within 30 days o notice of final action by an agency or by CSC upon appeal of a decision on a complaint of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin or --180 calendar days after filing the initial discrimin- ation charge with the agency or after filing an appeal with CSC if a decision has not been made. In response to these provisions of the act, CSC has attempted, through the issuance of gu'anice and procedures, to impress upon agencies the importance of timely complaint processing by emphasizing the importance of not exceeding 180 calendar days in processing complainits. On the basis of available data, agencies generally handled informal complaints in a more timely manner than formal complaints. All nine agencies we reviewed averaged mote than 180 days in processing frnal complaints through final agency decision. Thou,. numerous formal complaints exceeded the prescribed 180-lay limit, thereby entitling the complainant to file civil action, few civil actions resulted. PROCESSING TIME FOR COMPLAINTS The prompt and objective resolution of complaints is critical from the standpoint of justice to the individual and impact on positive program efforts. CSC regulations specify that a complaint must be resolved 180 calendar days after the filing of a formal complaint and that CSC may take action within 75 days after the complaint has been filed if the agency has not issued a decision or requested CSC to provide a complaints examiner. 49 Informal counseling CSC egulations provide that: -- The complainant shall inform the EEO counselor of the circumstances in which he or she believes he or she was discriminated against within 30 calendar days of the date of the matter. -- The EEO counselor will conduct final interviews with aggrieved individuals, to the extent practicable, within 21 calendar days after the date on which the matter was called to the attention of the couns- !or by the individual. If counseling has not been completed within 21 days, the individual must , notified of his or her right to file a formal cc - plaint. --The complainant will submit his complaint to the EEO cfficer within 15 calendar days of the date of his final interview with the EEO counselor. We reviewed files on informal counseling cases for which adequate documentation existed, that did not result in formal complaints of discrimination. Also, we reviewed files on cases that did become formal complaints. Files on inf.rmal counseling cases that did not result in formal complaints generally either did not exist or were incomplete. However, from information that was available, we determined that complainants or the EEO counselors were often not complying with CSC requirements in three important areas: --Employees in 27 of 207 cases had not contacted an EEO counselor within 30 calendar days of the most recent alleged discriminatory act. -- EEO counselors in 119 of 390 cases had not advised complainants within 21 calendar days of success or failure at attempted informal resolution. -- Employees in 19 of 115 cases had not filed formal complaints within 15 calendar days of final inter- views with counselors. We were not able to determine in most instances why the CSC requirements were exceeded. However, reasons cited for some cases included the extensive development that cases required, 50 absences of the officials involved, and inaction on the part of the complainants. Forml complaints Every agency we reviewed had serious difficulties meeting the 180-day time limit for completing formal complaint pro- cessing. In fact, the average processing time for formal cases closed with decisions on merit (cases processed through final agency decision at the headquarters level) exceeded the 180-day limit in every agency for fiscal years 1974, 1975, and the first half of fiscal year 1976. The following chart shows the average processing time in calendar days for complaints decided on merit. Cases in which the agency made an early decision on a case before all processing steps were completed, complaints withdrawn by the employee, and cases rejected or canceled by the agency are not included in these statistics. Average Processing Time in Calendar Days for Comlaints Closed_by Decision on the Merits Fiscal vear July 1, 1975 to 1974 1975 December 31, 1975 Range of average for the nine agencies reviewed 211 to 490 227 to 466 229 to 454 Government-wide 281 295 315 Agencies were aware of the overall timeliness goals and had generally established interim time limits to aid in achieving the goals. However, the agencies that established interim time limits were not adhering to them. FACTORS AFFECTING PROCESSING OF FORMAL COMPLAINT CASES Processing formal compaints in time frames that exceeded the limits prescribed by CSC was affected by agencies' financial and manpower resources (see ch. 2) and the emphasis placed on fairness and impartiality (see ch. 3). Other factors, however, such as the degree to which complaint systems were monitored and evaluated (see ch. 6), also affected processing of formal complaints. 51 The information we obtained showed that milestones were not met at virtually every formal complaint processing stage. Stages in which important processing delays occurred were these: -- Transmitting complaints to the appropriate level in the agency where actual processing begins. -- Obtaining the counselor's report so that adequate consideration could be given to accepting and re- jecting complaints. -- Assigning of investigators and starting formal in- vestigations. -- Completing investigations. -- Formulating proposed decisions. -- Conducting hearings (under control of complaints examiner). -- Preparing final agency decision-. Agency officials cited or we found a variety of reasons why time limits were not being met, including: -- Reluctance of field offices to forward complaints to agencies' headquarters. -- Lack of availability and turnover of investigators. --Inexperiericed or inadequately trained investigators, especially collateral duty investigators, causing additional investigative work. -- Failure of EEO officers to see that coinplaints are legible and that all issues in the complaint are presented clearly and specifically. -- Insufficient number of complaint review officials at agencies' headquarters. -- Emphasis on complaint review and qualitative processing. 52 -- Stringent CSC time limits. --Delays caused by complainants. We aetermined that although informal resolution of complaints was encouraged, delays occurred in at least th'ee agencies when agency components held on to complaints instead of forwarding them to the appropriate levels for formal processing. Though agency components may believe they are properly handling complaints, complainants may feel that the agency is not processing the case in the most expeditious manner. Agencies do not have total control over all processing steps though primary responsibility for processing complaints in a timely manner lies with the agency involved. For instance, agencies at'times rely on CSC investigators and the hearing examiners who must be from an agency other than THe one in which the complaint originated. In many instances. investigators and examiners exceeded prescribed 45- and Gb- calendar-day time limits, respectively. These activities averaged approximately 63 and 76 days Government-wide during fiscal years 1974 and 1975, respectively. There was a reat variance between the high and low time frame by case and b, CSC region. Hearing examiners' time, for example, varied from 8 to 222 days case in fiscal year 1974. Processing stages, including the investigation and hearing, were also delayed because complainants, their rep- resentatives, or witnesses were not always available when needed, such as when an agency needed an affidavit or wanted to start the hearing. These delays, which ranged up to 4 months, were not usually within control of the agencies but did affect timeliness. A study by the Department of Commerce showed that complainants contributed to processing delays in one-third of the cases examined. CSC MONITORING AND ACTION TAKEN CSC is responsible for assessing agency compliance with the time limits established for the complaint process. Although CSC evaluations of timeliness have improved in past years, they have not provided sufficiently mnin,ful data to evaluate agency compliance with the 180-callnd r-day standard or to assess the validity of the standard. CSC, to obtain information to assist in evaluating agency complaint processing timeliness, has required agencies 53 to submit monthly reports on precomplaints and both in-process and closed formal complaints since January 1973. Before that time, these reports were prepared quarterly. These reports show precomplaint activity (basis, cause, and volume) and the status of formal complaint cases which in- clude dates of each processing stage and when cases were closed. Additionally, agencies submit disposition reports to CSC within 10 days of the close of each formal case. The monthly and disposition reports enable CSC to monitor individual formal cases, determine which formal cases to take over from agencies, and analyze average pro- cessing time on formal complaints. Although CSC became aware as early as 1973 that some agencies were failing to submit monthly and/or disposition reports, some agencies were still not filing reports in 1975. Until March 1975 CSC assessed timeliness by computing the average processing time for all closed cases. Agencies that averaged less than approximately 18G calendar days in trie r ocessing of such cases were usually sent a letter by CSC advising them that their timeliness was satisfactory. Agencies averaging over approximately 180 days were sent letters stating that it seemed that sufficient resources and/or attention were not being given to this critical activity. At least three agencies reviewed--the Departments of Health, Educaticn, and Welfare and Interior and the Postal Service--considered the letters from CSC to be the basic evaluation by CSC of the issues of their systems, especially with respect to timeliness. In reviewing CSC's use of this information, ;we noted that: --The average number of days as computed by CSC in- cluded cases which did not go through all admin- istrative processing steps. Thus, an agency that rejected, canceled, or resolved a substantial number of cases or had cases withdrawn by complainants early in the formal process was at an advant.ge over an agency that normally did not experience many rejec- tions, cancellations, early resolutions, or with- drawals. In addition, rejected cases were not reported by two agencies, which caused their average to be higher. 54 -- ASrncies generally were apprised of how timely or untimely they were, but not of the stages of the process contributing to delays. --CSC did not evaluate agencies' performances by determining the number or percentage of processed cases that exceeded 180 calendar days, a measu r e which would better eflect an agency'; ability to process individur.l cases within 180 days. CSC modified its J.luation of agency timeliness in March 3975 when it beg .n separating closed cases intc four categories, rejections, cancellations, withdrawals, and decisions on the nerits. Also, CSC determined average pro- cessing times for each category. As a result, three agencies--Interior, the Air Force, and the Veterans Adminis- tration, which CSC had earlier praised for timeliness in complaint processing, were determined to actually be un- timely. A comparison follows of the two approaches to evaluating timeliness used by CSC for the agencies we re- veiwed and also Government-wide for fiscal year 1974: Average processing time in calendar _____days_for fiscal year_1974 Cases closed with All cases closed decisions on merit Range of average for nine agencies reviewed 153 to 395 211 to J Government-wide 201 281 While CSC's approaches to timeliness evaluation are of some benefit, they do not adequately show the extent to which agencies exceeded the initial 75-day period without cases being adjudicated or without CSC being requested to supply a complaints examiner. Our review of selected cases closed in three agencies in which a hearing was requested during the first half of fiscal year 197., showed the following: 55 Average age Number Percent Number of complaint over over of cases when complaints 75 75 involve6 examiner requested days days HEW 17 207 17 100 Air Force 43 87 22 51 Commerce 4 217 4 100 CSC's approaches to timeliness evaluation also do not adequately show to what extent agencies are exceeding the 180-day time frame for completing agency processing. We examined many cases closed during fiscal yea, 1974 and the first half of fiscal year 1975 for the three agencies and determined these results for each of the agencies, respec- tively: Fiscal year 1974 July-December 1974 Percentage of Percentage of Number closed cases Number closed cases of exceeding 180 of exceeding 180 cases days cases days closed processing closed processing HEW 190 89 67 67 Air Force 216 44 152 39 Cnmmcrce 38 47 11 82 This information she s that these agencies were not processing a majority of their formal complaints within prescribed calendar-day time limits. CONCLUSIONS The processing of informal complaints appears to be timely; however, an analysis of the quality or cost effec- tiveness of this aspect of the system is not possible be- cause of the variance in recordkeeping by the agencies. Accordingly, the impact of the informal stage on the over- all system is not measurable. Processing formal compaints is not generally accomp- lished within the established l80-caltndar-'ay standard. 56 CSC evaluations of timeliness, though improved in past years, did not provide sufficiently meaningful data to evaluate agency compliance with the 180-calendar-day standard. Further, CSC had not studied the appropriateness of the 180- calendar-day case processing standard since it had been established. (The need to evaluate the 180-day standard is further discussed in ch. 6, which discusses monitoring and evaluating the complaint system.) RECOMMENDATION We recommend that the Chairman of CSC issue definitive guidance on the records to be maintained by counselors on informal complaints. AGENCY COMMENTS CSC advised us that existing CSC guidance to monthly reports of precomplaint counseling, complaint activity, and disposition reports is subject to ambiguous interpretation, particularly with reference to reporting counseling activity, and that the resulting confusion has impaired the reliability of data on this phase of the complaint process. CSC also advised us that a Federal Personnel Manual Letter has been drafted which specifically requires agencies to report only those cases which have exceeded the 75-day and 180-day time limits and requires counselors to maintain written records. (See app. III.) 57 CHAPTER 6 PROGRAM REVIEWS AND EVALUATION Sound management practice dictates that programs have built-in mechanisms for self-evaluation and be subject to periodic independent reviews. Although Civil Service Com- mission guidance referred to the need for program review and evaluation, neither the agencies nor CSC had made reviews of sufficient depth to determine the effectiveness, adequacy, and costs of the Government's discrimination complaint systems. AGENCY EVALUATIONS OF DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT SYSTEMS CSC guidance states that each agency should have a system for internal equal employment opportunity program evaluation which provides periodic progress reports to agency heads. CSC, in its guidance on the preparation of affirmative action plans, advised agencies that the first step in action plan development is to assess the current status of EEO within the agency, locate problem areas, assign objectives and goals, and develop action items designed to overcome identified problems. Further, CSC advised agencies that, in action plan development, the use of vague generalities in describing actions to be undertaken should be avoided. CSC also suggested that agencies avoid emphasis on statements of policy or general intent which lack specificity. Our review at nine agencies disclosed that none had con- ducted an indepth agencywide review or evaluation of their discrimination complaint systems. Every agency, however, had made some analysis, as evidenced by information obtained during our review and presented in affirmative action plans and other reports forwarded to CSC. Most frequently, though, thue reviews were done informally. Information in every agency's plan was often general, vague, not problem-oriented, and accordingly not properly responsive to CSC guidance. Few agencies addressed dis- crimination complaint systems in the evaluative section of their action plans. Agencies that did address discrimination complaint systems did so in a general way by flaking statements of policy and general intent, which CSC had suggested they not do. Examples of such statements of policy and general intent included i. affirmative action plans were: 58 -- Conduct counseling and complaint processing under applicable regulations. -- Have EEO officers see that all complaint counseling duties are performed by roperly trained individuals. -- Organize training for al new investigators and for investigators needing retraining. -- Provide adequate staff throughout the organization to effectively carry out a result-oriented EEO program. -- Submit accurate and timely reports. -- Review and evaluate staff and budget resources. --Review, evaluate, and assess all EEO affiruative action program activities. CSC EVALUATIONS OF DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT SYSTEMS The EEO Act of 1972 requires that CSC be responsible for reviewing and evaluating the operation of all agency EEO programs. As of November 1975, CSC had not conducted adequate formal evaluations of the effectiveness and efficiency of problems affecting agencies' discrimination complaint systems. CSC's Bureau of Personnel Management Evaluation had conducted reviews of agencies' EEO programs at some locations, but in only a few cases was the discrimination complaint system addressed specifically, and in those instances the reviews were not large enough to address all aspects of the system that influence effectiveness and efficiency. The only substantive study by CSC's Office of Federal Equal Employment Opportunity was a 1973 survey made of the EEO counseling program at 88 Federal installations. The esults of the study, which discussed employee views of counselors and counseling, counselor views, management views, counselor qualifications and accessibility, and counselor sel]cticn, were disseminated to agencies' EEO directors and directors of personnel. CSC's Office of Federal Equal Employment Opportunity requires agencies to submit monthly reports on cmplaints to 59 assess complaint processing timeliness on formal cases. CSC's approaches to timeliness evaluation do not adequately show the number of cases which exceed the 180-calendar-day time frame for completing agency processing. More impor- tantly, though, the Office has not evaluated discrimination complaint systems from the standpoint of system quality and costs or attempted to relate complaint processing timeliness to quality and costs. Further, CSC has never reviewed the 180-calendar-day time frame for processing complaints to determine its relevance. The fact that large numbers of cases are not processed within this time frame may indicate the standard is not appropriate. An official of the Office of Federal Equal Employment Opportunity advised us that his office primarily evaluated the complaints system in terms of agencies' timeliness in processing; complaints. CONCLUSIONS Neither CSC nor the agencies we reviewed have adequately reviewed and evaluated the discrimination complaint systems in operation to know the effectiveness, efficiency, or costs of the systems or how to enhance them. More importantly, however, sound reviews and evaluations are not possible because of the lack of documentation and reports, or in- adequate ones. Neither CSC nor the agencies know or have assessed the relationship between the qualitative processing of complaints, the processing of complaints within certain time frames, and the cost of operating a complaint system. In addition, data either does not exist or is of insufficient quality to assess system performance and to use for making appropriate improve- ments or modifications to the system. RECOMMENDATIONS We recommend that the Chairman of CSC: ---Take action to improve CSC's reviews and evaluation of complaint systems. -- Develop criteria for and assess the effectiveness and efficiency of agencies' complaint systems that consider qualitative and cost aspects in addition to timeliness consideration. (Depending on the results of this effort, CSC may have to coordinate with the 60 Office of Management and Budget matters involving complaint system budgeting and costs.) These criteria should include identification of discrim- inatory personnel practices in relation to charges of discrimination and corrective action taken. We also recommend that the heads of departments and agencies reviewed take action to improve reviews and evalu- ations of their complaint systems. AGENCY COMMENTS CSC stated that it issued guidance in April 1976 concerning improving the agency reviews and evaluations of complaint systems. In addition, it will consider whether more specific coverage should be included in the CSC evaluation process. CSC stated that resolution of complaints involves ctions by employees and officials which are an essential part of the fabric of day-to-day supervision and management and that the value of a complaint system really sould not be measured in cost effectiveness terms. CSt D=id that the more it has examined this issue, the more it is certain that efforts to gather cost data are not productive. (See app. III.) We note an inconsistency, however, since CSC, in commenting on the need for specific guidance to agencies for accumulating and reporting complaint system costs, stated that its revised cost reporting feature of the EEO plans may elicit more reliable cost data from agencies sufficient to permit a qualitative assessment of this aspect of agency EEO programs. In our opinion, cost effectiveness does have relevancy. For example, it would be important for an agency to know that 20 percent, 30 percent, or even 50 percent of its resources are being used for complaint processing and be able to relate this cost to complaint processing time- liness and quality to determine if it should allow that percentage of its resources to be used for that purpose. 61 CHAPTER 7 OTHER MATTERS NEED FOR IMPROVED CSC PROCEDURE FOR HANDLING THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINTS The Civil Service Commission does not provide for pro- cessing third-party complaints similarly to individual complaints by employees or applicants for employment. The regulation pertaining to third-party complaints provides for submission of general allegations by organi- zations or other third parties of discrimination in personnel matters which are unrelated to individual complaints of discrimination. Third parties under this procedure can call an agency's management attention to policies or practices which they believe to be discriminatory. Such matters are handled solely through an agency investigation and, at the request of the third party, reviewed by CSC. This varies with the procedure for handling individual complaints of discrimination in' that individual complaints are handled initially on an infor'il basis and then formally under spec- ifically described p edures. Third-party procedures according to CSC guidance are not intended as a means of obtaining redress in individual cases without the filing of complaints personally. Such procedures are not designed or intended to be used as a substitute for equal employment opportunity counseling and complaint procedures. Effective April 18, 1977, procedures allowing for con- solidation of complaints (class complaints) will replace the procedures for processing third-party allegations. NEED FOR UNIFORMITY IN EEO LAWS CSC regulations on the processi.ng of age discrimination complaints do not entirely parallel those for complaints based on race, color, sex, religion, and national origin with respect to the right to pursue civil actions because of variances between the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended in 1974. The EEO act provides that anyone filing a complaint based on race, color, sex, religion,, or national origin may file a civil action acer the final agency decision or if the complaint has not been resolved within 180 days. 62 Tne 1974 law dealing with age discrimination complaints provides than an individual may file a civil action after giving CSC 30 days' written notice of one's intent to do so if one has not filed a formal complaint. The law is silent, however, on an individual's right to pursue civil action if a formal complaint has been filed. CSC has interpreted the 1974 law to exclude third-party complaints based on age and has provided that age discrimin- ation complainants not be advised of their right to pursue civil action after final agency decision or the expiratiun of 180 days. These variances, in our opinion, are inequitable with respect to age discrimination complainants and create a climate of confusion not only for complainants but also for EEO personnel responsible for administering the complaint system. If an individual files a discrimination complaint based on age and sex, the issues related to the two bases must be separated when the complainant wishes to pursue civil action without first pursuing administrative remedies. RECOMMENDATION We recommend that the Chairman of CSC initiate a legis- lative proposal to bring uniformity to the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 and the Age Discrimination in Employ- ment Act of 1967, as amended in 1974. CSC COMMENTS AND ACTIONS CSC stated that it is exploring the initiation of proposed legislation to bring uniformity to the EEO act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. In addition, it plans to issue a CSC bulletin to clarify the distinction between complaints related to the two areas. 63 APPENDIX I APPENDIX I HI U) ; E-4 pi~L 14~~~~~~~~ 10 H ~ ~r zi3i~ Hi,;rn 6 0n O z U) L LE] :IJ~~~~~i z~~~~~~ o~~~~6 APPENDIX II APPENDIX II DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES AT WHICH EEO DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT SYSTEMS WERE REVIEWED Civil Service Commission Headquarter, Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and St. Louis Regional Offices Department of Agriculture Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; Farmers Home Admin- istration, Headquarters, Washington, D.C., Farmers Home Administration, Temple, Tex., and Kansas City, Mo. Department of the Air Force Headquarter, Washington, D.C.; Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, Tex., McGuire Air Force Base, Wrightstown, N.J. Department of Commerce Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis- tration Headquarters, Rockville, Md.; and Fort Worth, Tex. and St. Louis General Services Administration Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; Region V, Chicago; Region III, Washington, D.C.; Region VI, Kansas City, Mo. Department of Health, Education, Headquarters, Washington, and Welfare D.C.; Social Security Administration, Head- quarters, Baltimore, Md.; Atlanta Regional Office, Chicago Regional Office, and Program Center, Philadelphia 65 APPENDIX II APPENDIX II Department of the Interior Headquarters, Washington, D.C.: Geological Survey Headquarter, Reston, Va., and Rolla, Mo. U.S. Postal Service Headquarters, Washington. D.C.; Post Office, Los Angeles and St. Louis Department of Transportation Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; Federal Aviation Administration, Headquarters Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Kansas City, Mo., and Los Angeles Veterans Administration Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; Regional Office, Chicago; Hospital, Dallas Regional Office; Los Angeles; Hospital, Philadelphia 66 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION IN Mn rtlt NI TO WASHINGTON, D.C. 20415 10UR RFLREN([ Mr. H. L. Krieger Director, Federal Personnel and Compliance Division U.S. General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Dear Mr. Krieger: Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the draft General Accounting Office report on its assessment of the discrimination complaint system over which the Civil Service Comzmissiot, has major responsibility for enforcement and guidance. We are reassured that the substantial effort devoted to the report by the GAO reflects fitting concern for the operation of a system designed by the Civil Service Commission to assure Federal employees and applicants full protection of their rights to equal opportunity within the Federal work environment. As noted throughout the report, implementation by the Commission of the charter outlined for it by Executive Order 11478, Public Law 92-261 and rubic Law 93-259 to provide for the prompt, fair and impartial consideration of complaints of discrimination in Federal employment has been essentially successful, although you pointed to some problems. On the whole we believe the report targets problem areas in which the Commission anticipates issuance of specific additional guidance to agencies subsequent to the completion and publication of complaint regulations, currently under revision, and regulations for the administrative proce sing of class actions. Sincerely yours, l nd Jacopson Fxe4 tiveDrector Enclosure THE MERIT SYSTEM-A GOOD INVESTMENT IN GOOD GOVERNMENT 67 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III U.S. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION COMMENTS ON DRAFT OF REPORT TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES ASSESSMENT OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT SYSTEM Office of Federal Equal Employment Opportunity September 1976 68 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III (Ste GAO note, p. 76.) Our comments on the specific recommendations for action by the Chlirman are as follows: Recommendation Emphasize that agencies properly plan and implement their discrimination complaint systems to better insure system ob- jectives are met. Agency planning and in)lementation should include a more systematic approach tu the placing and struc- turing of systems; obtaining top management commitment; deter- mining financial rsourccs to be applied; and analyzing manpower needs, including deciding on full-time versus part.- time staffirg, staffing representation, documenting the re- view of qualifications o individuals occupying certain EEO positions, determining training needs of EEO staff, and moni- toring and evaluating employees performing EEO functions on a collateral duty basis. Comment We regard resource allocation, analysis of manpower needs, and determinations involving the appropriate balance of full- time versus part-time staffing as agency personnel manage- ment decisions and stressed this in the issuance of FPM Letter 713-35 on Eual Employment Opportunity Plans. We believe we have gone a long way toward assisting agencies in monitoring their allocation or personnel and resources for their EEO programs, in assessing the effectiveness of their complaint systems and in evaluating the performance of equal employment opportunity program staff. copy of FPM Letter 713-35 is attached for your information. This gui- dance supplements and updates the body of regul 'ions, policy issuances, and procedures which now exist to asui-t agencies in the development of effectively managed complaint systems within their EEO program-. For example, in the area of up- grading the quality of system managers, the Commission has required documentation from agencies of the qualifications of major program officials in the equal employment oppor- tunity plan evaluation program. Work groups have been established, consisting of staff from major agencies which are represented on the IAG Subcommittee on Discrimination Complaint Processing, for the purpose of creening and evaluating materials currently in use within these agencies to train EEO counselors and complaint investigators. Our goal in this effort is to develop training modules for use Governmentwide with a view to standardization of high quality training for EEO counselors and investigators, and requiring Commission crtification. We concur with nrle report's assessment of a need for effective evaluation by agency EEO program officials of employees who are performirj 69 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III EEO functions on a collateral duty basis. We also concur with the need to reemphasize planning and implementation of agency complaint systems. Recommendation Complete a review of qualification standards for EEO positions. Comment FPM Letter 713-35, Equal Employment Opportunity Plans, dated April 30, 1975, places major emphasis n the quality of pro- gram staffing by requiring certification that the qualifica- tions of all EEO staff officials full-time or part-time, in- cluding the Director of Equal Employment Opportunity, have Leen reviewed by competent authority and the incumbents of these positions meet the standards outlined in Qualificatio;., Standard Handbook X-118 under "Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist GS-160" or "Qualifications Guide for Collateral Assignments Involving Equal Employment Opportunity Duties." In addition, instructions require that the findings of such review be available for review by the Commission. We are cognizant of the essential nature of personnel expertise for agency EEO staff and we feel the emphasis training in recent guidance has been a strong first step in alleviating this aspect of the problem. New written grade evaluation and qualification standards will be issued for comment by the Commission late this fall. The written standard will ade- quately deal with issues identified. Recommendation Issue additional and more specific guidance to agencies for accumulating and reporting complaint system costs. Comment The newly revised cor' reporting feature of the equal employ- inent opportunity plan found outlined in FPM Letter 713-35 may elicit more reliabie cost data from agencies sufficient to permit a qualitative assessment of this aspect of agency EEO programs. Additional work needs to he done in relating costs reported in the equal employment opportunity plan to those reported to the Commission in annual reports on civil rights expenditures gathered and consolidated by the Commis- sion for the Office of Mandgement and Budget Recommendation Develop criteria for and assess the efectiveness and effi-- ciency of agencies' complaint systems tat consider quali- tative and cost aspec's in addition to timeliness 17 0 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III considerations. Depending on the results of this effort, there may be a need to coordinate with the Office of Manage- ment and Budget, especially with respect to matters in- volving complaint system budgeting and costs. Comment Our recognition of the importance of the Commission's ability to assess complaint system effectiveness is reflected in re- cent guidance (FPM Letter 713-35). The value of a complaint system really should not be measured in cost effectiveness terms. The more we have examined this issue, the more we are certain that efforts to gather cost data are not pro- ductive. Resolution of complaints involves actions by em- ployees and officials which are an essential part of the fab- ric of day-to-day supervision and management. Recommendation Emphasize to agencies the importance of insuring that all complainants are generally apprised of and afforded their rights. Comment While we have no evidence that this is a major problem. com- municat' n to individuals of heir rights through-',l 'the com- plaint L ocess is a continuing concern. We will look into the need for additional guidance in th.-- area Recommendation Consideration should hb given to apprising complainants of their rights in standardized format such as on a printed card. Comment This matter is currently under o!nsideration. We have standardized materials in the form of Pamphlet 10 and hand- outs attached to correspondence. The broad spectrum frno which applicants come fo:ward makes standardization extremely difficult. Recommendation Tisue more definitive guidance on apprising complainants of i eir rights to appeal their ases to CSC's Commissioners wheni nes: evidence becomes availai:le. Comment Icevised guidance and handbooks accompanying the new regula- tions will explain the right to request reconsideration by the Commission more definitively. As we indicated above, 71 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III Commission regulations do not provide for "appeal" to the CcmTmissioners. Recomimendation Provide more definitve uidance on rejecting and canceling complaints including the variance between the two actions and employee rights as a result of each action. Comment While we feel FPM Letter 713-21 has partially alleviated prob- lems wnich may have given rise to this recommendation, we concur fully with the recommendation and proposec revisions to Part 713 of Commission regulations dealing with this prob- lem and the related problem cf abuse of the complaint system addressed by the report (p.28). Recommendation Emphasize to agencies the necessity of rejecting and canceling complaints in a consistent manner. Comment Again we concur with the report's recommendation in this re- gard. The current bases for the rejection and cancellation of complaints (Section 713.215) have been amplified and clarified in the proposed revisions to Part 713. We expect that one of the results of these newly drafted revisions, if accepted in final form, will be to make agency decisions consistent in this regard. Recommendation Monitor more clo- 7y emoloyee use of the complaint system and take action, a ._cessary, to insure that the complaint sys- tem does not process grievance matters. Comment It i not possible to monitor employee USE of the complaint system. We object to the word "monitor." The only disti-c- tion between a grievance and d complaint is what the employee perceives is the cause and what the employee believes the contested action was based upon. Frequently and typically, com,?laints are grievable matters. The difference is the basis upon which the issue is founded (race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and/or age'. We agree that employe~e need to better understand the dis- tinctions in processing requirements between grievances and complaints. We can intensify training efforts so :hat coun- selors can provide better advice to aggrieved persons. 72 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III Recommendation Consider reviewing complaint procedures to insure that agencies are making every effort to preclude non-EEO com- plaints from entering and being processed in the discrimina- tion complaint system. Comment See Comment for recommendation immediately above. Recommendation Reemphasize to agencies their obligation to insure that complainants are not being subjected to reprisal actions. Comment We agree that reprisal is a problem of significant oncern as indicated by the rising number of complaints and charges on this basis. We expect to continue to stress to agencies' EEO program officials their responsibilities to see that operating officials do not subject complainants to reprisal. Recommendation Reexamine the rights of alleged discriminating officials with a view towards improving protection of their rights especially with respect to providing full consideration of their "due process" rights. Comment The Commission has been aware for some time of the due pro- cess concerns of officials who have been named by complainants as responsible for alleged dicriminatory acts. This complex subject is currently under review and we expect to issue de- tailed guidance in the regulations and in guidance material which will substantially expand the rights of such officials. In addition a proposed new standard complaint form will de- lete all reference to alleged responsible officials. Recommendation Issue specific guidance to agencies as to actions that should be taken relative to potential conflict situations when EEO officers are named as alleged discriminating officials. Comment We concur and noted in FPM Letter 713-35 that agencies should have alternative delegations. The subject will be included in a handbook for equal employment opportunity officers, currently in draft form. Guidance to agencies on conflict of interest questions is provided now on a case-by-case basis. '3 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III Recommendation Require that agencies take measures to insure that all employees and applicants for employment are properly in- formed of the complaint system. Comment We concur and can include suggestions in the guidance to be issued subsequent to the revised regulations. Recommendation Issue definitive guidance on the records to be maintained by counselors on informal complaints. Comment We recognize that existing Commission guidance to agencies on monthly reports f precomplaint counseling, complaint activ ?y and disposition reports (FPM Letter 713-19) is subject to ambiguous interpretaion, particularly with re- ference to reporting counseling activity, and that the resulting confusion has impaired the reliability of data on this phase of the complaint process. The report notes that the reporting system currently in use by the Commission fails to readily identify the number or percentage of ds- crimination complaints pending with agencies which exceed the 180 calendar day time limiL and/or which exceed the 75 day time limit where either no final decision has been is- sued or the agency has not requested the Federal Employee Appeals Authority o furnish a complairts examiner (pp. 41-42). An FPM Letter )n this subject hias been rafted to revise and clarify existing reporting procedures and specitfclly re- quire that agencies report only those cases which have ex- ceeded the 7-day and 180--day time limits. Additionally, the proposed egulations equire that counselors maintain written records. Recommendation I:-sure that CSC and the agencies make a more concerted ef- fort to identify Deron.el management deficiencies Dy ys- tematically analy ng the expezience on completed complaint cases. Comment We believe that the additional focus which will be provided by the ew? reporting procedures, together with the system currently in place for indexing FEAA and ARB decisions will provide us with an enhanced capability to systematica3lly analyze compleint issues to identify management problems giving rise to complaints. Our evaluation staff can also 74 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III provide insights in this area. We believe, however, that currently available data, while not comprehensive or com- plete as pointed out in the draft report, has offered significant insights into the relative frequency with which specific personnel actions and other matters have formed the bases for complaints. Recommendation Insure that CSC, both on a Governmentwide and individual agency asis, and the agencies make a more active effort to identify systemic discriminatory practices. Comment We believe that class action regulations, currently in the final stages of Commission review, will promote the discovery of systemic discrimination. Reemphasis of agency responsi- bility to affirmatively root out discriminatory practices as a result of the resolution of complaints will be provided in guidance :naterial. Recommendation Reexamine the matter of the circumstances under which dis- cipliniary ac':ion is to be taken while insuring in the mean- time that agencies are consistent and fair in taking dis- ciplinary action against discriminating officials. Comment We do not contemplate at this time a revision of the Commis- sion's present position that disciplinary action is a person- nel management decision which properly belongs to the agency within which the complaint arises. We do not believe that a uniform table of penalties is appropriate, but rather that any disciplinary action taken should give due consideration to the circumstances in each case. Recommendation Take action t improve both CSC's and the agencies' reviews and evaluations of complaint systems. Comment As we indicate above the Commission has issued guidance in this area to agencies in April 1976. We will, in addition, consider whether more specific coverage ought to be in- cluded in our evaluation process. Recommendation Consider initiating a legislative proposal to bring uniformity 75 APPENDIX III APPENDIX III to the EEO Act of 1972 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended in 1974. Comment This recommendation is being explored. It should be noted, however, that a forthcoming SC Bulletin will clarify the distinction between complaints related to the two areas. Recommendation Consider modifying CSC guidance to provide for the processing of class action complaints in a way that is more similar to the processing of individual complaints. The impact on the administrative and logistical process should be an integral part of this process of consideration. Commnent A complete revision to Part 713 is presently being considered by the Commission. As proposed, the class and first party procedures are substantially similar. Again, we appreciate the opportunity to review and uomm:ent on your report in draft form. We hope that our observations and comments will e helpful to you and we look forward to publication of the final report. GAO note: Deleted material suggested minor changes to the report. We have considered these changes in this final report. Page numbers mentioned refer to the draft report, and may not correspond to those in the final report. 76 APPENDIX IV APPENDIX IV DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OFFICE OF THE SECPETARY WASHINGTON. D. C. 20250 q-otember 1 3. 1976 Mr. Henry Eschwege Director, Community and Economic Development Division U.S. General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Dear Mr. Eschwege: The 'U.S. Department of Agriculture has reviewed the draft report entitled "Assessment of Federal Government's Dis- crimination Complaint System" and found it to be comprehensive and informative. We find ourselves in agreement with the recommendations to the Civil Service Commission and the Agencies. Of particular interest to us was the section on the placement and structure of the discrimination comr-_itnt process since we are currently reviewing the placement of' the USDA dis- crimination complaint system. We would he interested in a more in-depth review of credibility as related to placement. We are also interested in your omments on potential conflict' when EEO Officials are named as alleged discriminating officials. We feel Commission guidance is much needed in this area. Thank you very much for the opportunity t review this draft. Sincerely, Assistant Secretary for Admir stration and Director, Equal Employment Opportunity 77 APPENDIX V APPENDIX V DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE WASHINGTON 20330 OFFICE OF THE SECRET ARY 8 SEP 6 Mr. H. L. Krieger Director, Federal Personnel and Compensation Division U. S. General Accounting Office 441 G Street, Northwest Dear Mr. Krieger: This is in reply to your letter to Secretary Donald Rumsfeld regarding the GAO report dated July 13, 1976, "Assessment of Federal Government's Discrimination Complaint System". It has been reviewed and we concur with its conclusions and recommendations. Sincerely, 78 APPENDIX VI APPENDIX VI UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE The Assistant Secretary for Administration , Washington, D.C. 20230 AUG 2 3 976 Mr. Henry Eschwege Director Camnunity and Economic Development Division U. S. General Acc6unting Office Washington, D. C. 20548 Dear Mr. Eschwege: We have reviewed a copy of your proposed report to the Congress on the "Assessment of Federal Government's Discrimination Complaint System." it is our opinion that the Report accurately reflects many of the general problems associated with the Government's complaint system. Further, the Report's specific findings and related recommendations clearly highlight many of the problems inherent in the Government's conplaint system. We eel that if the recommendations addressed to the Civil Service Commission are properly implemented, the overall effectiveness of the Federal Government's complaint system will be substantially enhanced. For our part, the Department of Commerce has recently initiated specific corrective actions closely related to several of the conditions and findings contained in your Report which will also contribute to a more effective Governmental complaint system. We appreciate this opportunity to provide our general reaction to your proposed Report and look forward to receiving your final Report. Sincerely, ssbtant Sertary for Administration 79 APPENDIX VII APPENDIX VII UNITED STATES OF AMERICA GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON, DC 2WO5 September 17, 17?6 Honorable Elmer B. Staats Comptroller General of the United States General Accounting Office Washington, DC 20548 Dear Mr. Staats: We appreciate the opportunity to review your draft report "Assessment of Federal Government Discrimination Complaint System". We agree with ll of the recommendations to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) nd offer cnrents en number three. The third recommendation sta';es that the CSC should issue additional and more specific guidance to agencies for accumulating and reporting complaint system costs. "Complete" operational cost cannot be accurately formulated under present CSC regulations. The informal counseling system does not require reporting to the EEO Officer work done on a informal complaint. Even if such a complaint eventually becomes a formal complaint, there is no written require- ment for EO Counsclcrs to report hours spent in the counseling process. Also, there is no requirement for accounting for time spent by management officials, deponents, representatives and witnesses who likewise participate in the omplaint system. Unless agencies are authorized to get into this area, even in the "informal" stages. for the purpose of report g time spent by individuals involved, there can be no complete cost figures a.cumulate6 and maintained. if you have any questions, please let us know. Sincerely, JCK r(KI.RD Administrator Keep F-eedom,in rour Fture With U.S. Savings Bonds 80 APPENDIX VIII APPENDIX VIII DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH. EDUCATION. AND WELFARE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY WASHINGTON. DC. 1OI Mr. Gregory J. Ahart Director, Human Resources Division United States General Accounting office Washinqton, D.C. 20548 Dear Mr. Ahart: The Secretary asked that I respond to your request for our general reaction to your report, "Assessment of Federal Government's Discrimination Coinplaint System." Department officials have carefully reviewed the subject report and wish to commend GAO on the fine work that went into identifying many of the complex issues involved in EEO complaint processing. We look forward to further discussions with the Civil Service Commission on issues raised in the report and possible corrective action. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on this draft report before its publication. Sincerely yours, J~ D. Yung istant SecreLary, Comptroller 81 APPENDIX IX APPENDIX IX United States Department of the Interior OFFICE OF THZ SECRETARY WASHiNGTON, D.C. 20240 Mr. Henry Eschwege Director, Community and Economic Development Division U.S. General Accounting Office Washington, D,C. 20548 Dear Mr. Eschwege: This is in response co your draft report, "Assessment of Federal Government's Discriminati-r omplaint System." Although the report di not address recommendations to the Department, EO officials of the Department conclude that the report accurately Identifies the many problems related to the complaint system. Those recoamendations dealing with obtaining top management commitment, determining financial requirements, and analyzing personnel needs are particularly relevant. As a vehicle for corrective action, the report would be improved if it specified which Federal agencies, in addition to the Civil Service Commission, should address the specific problems identified, We appreciate the oportunity to comment on your report. Sincerely, Aseistant Secretar~ of the In rior 82 APPENDIX X APPENDIX X -r t THE POSTMASTER GENERAL Washington, D' ?0260 September 2, 1976 Mr. Victcr Lowe Direct.r, General Government Division Uo S. General Accounting Office Washington, D. C. 20548 Dear Mr. Lowe: This responds to your July 15, 1976 letter in which you requested the Postal Service's general reaction to your draft report on the Assessment of Federal Government's Discrimination Complaint System. The report effectively summarizes problems in the administration of the Federal Government's discrimination complaint system. The recommendations the report makes to the Civil Service Com- mission should prove useful in promoting fresh initiatives towards solving the problems cited. In your final rep.at you may also wish to comment on the additional complications that will arise in the handling of discrimination complaints as a result of the recent Supreme Court opinion in Chandler v. Rouaebush, 44 U. S. L. W. 4709 which recognizes a right of trial de novo at the district court level after all administra- tive procedures have been completed. You may also wish to comment o the possible impact that the Privacy Act may have on the complaint system, and particularly on how requested information nay be released to a complainant without violating the privacy of other individuals to whom the nformnation pertains. Sincerely, Benjamin/. Bailar 83 APPENDIX XI APPENDIX XI OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION WASHINTON. D.C. 20590 l ORgADSTRTI Mr. Henry Eschwege Di rector Community and Economic Development Division U. S. General Accounting Office Wushington, D. C. 2054P Dear Mr. Eschwege: This is in response to your letter of July 19, 1976, requesting comments from the Department of Transportation on the General Ac.ounting Office draft report entitled, "Assessment of Federal Government's Discrimination Complaint System." We have reviewed the report in detail and prepare= a Departent of Transportation reply. Two copies of the reply are enclosed. Sincerely, William S. HeffelfiFger Enclosures 84 APPENDIX XI APPENDIX XI DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION REPLY TO GAO Draft Report of July 19. 1976 ON Assessment of the Federal Government's Discrimination Complaint System Summary of GAO Findings and Recommendations Although the Civil Service Commission has established, and agencies have implemented, an extensive framework to operate discrimination complaint systerls, many aspects of the planning and implementation, operation .tnd evaluation systems were in need of improvement. Agencies aried with espect to the placement of the discrimination complaint system in the agency and in the structuring or rganization of certain functions. The place- ment and structure of the complaint syrsem impacts n both the qualitative and timely processing ot complaints. Therefore, numerous relevant factors mudt be considered before deciding on the placement and structure of the discrinination complain' system. It is believed that the necessary planning was not conducted nor adequate management support provided by agencies before making these decisions,. For example, it did not appea r that agencies had given adequate consideration in the planning phase to such factors as system credibility, coordination with those knowledgeable in personnel, and staffing matters, including determinations on full-time versus part-time staff Department of Transportation Position We generally ccncur in the findings and recommendations contained in the Draft Report. Certain aspects of the report, however, deserve comment. First, it is the position f the Department of Transportation that the discrimination complaint pro.essing system is most effective ',en it is centrally located wvithin the Agency with its director o, ZE() reporting directly to the head of the Agency. It is the Department's position thai a 85 APPENDIX XI APPENDIX XI centralized placement of the system directly under the head of the Agency provides for maximum credibility. Second, the Department strongly supports the recom- mendation for USCSC guidelines for a more systematic approach to structuring of systems and asalyzing manpower needs, including deciding on full-time versus part-time staffing. Third, the report's recommendations for USCSC determinations of (a) training needs of EEO staff and (b) methods of maintaining and evaluating employees performing EEO functions on a collateral duty basis warrant serious con sideration. Fourth, as regards the recommended re-evaluation of the relevance and validity of the 180-day time limit for processing complaints, the Department takes the position that the Commission should make a thorough examination of -gencies' resource allocations is-a-vis untimely com- plaint processing before any change is rnac, in the currently prescribed time limits. We believe there is a direct correlation between resource allocations and timely pro- cessing of complaints. Fifth, the Department concurs in the recommendation that CSC issue d finite guidance on records to be maintained by EEO Counsel ,rs on informal complaints and suggests further that this recommendation be expanded to require the numerical evaluation of agency complaint systems in terms of the relative number of their total complaint incidents that are resolved informally as against the number that go formal. Sixth, the Department supports the recommendation that the USCSC re-examine the matter of the circumstance under which disciplinary ction is taken while insuring in the mean- time, that agencife are consistent and fair in taking disciplinary action against discriminating officials. Finally, it is the Department's position that the GAO's examination of the Federal Government's Discrimination Com- plaint System on the whole has been thorough and its conclusions and recommendations by and large have been objective and sound. Acting Director of Civil Rights 86 APPENDIX XII APPENDIX XII VETERANS iOMINISTRATION OFFICE OF TI. ADMINISTRATO OR V . AFrUI s WASHINGTON. D.C. 20420 '"a.- . SEPTEMBER 8 - 1976 Mr. Gregory J. Ahart Director, Human Resources Divition U. S. General Accounting Office 441 G Street N. W. Washington, D. C. 20543 Dear Mr. Ahart: We have read your draft report "Assessment of Federal Government's Discrimination Complaint System" and concur in its finding . Many of the deficiencies cited ere already nown to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) ind to us. Draft revised regulations, prepared by the Commission after consultation with the agencies, address a number of them. Recomendations for improvement are directed to the Chairman, CSC, for implementation. We have no objection to any of them. Sincerely, RICHARD L. ROUDEBUSH Administrator 87 APPENDIX XIII APPENDIX XIII PRINCIPAL OFFICIALS RESPONSIBLE FOR ADMINISTERING ACTIVITIES DISCUSSED IN THIS REPORT Tenure of office From To Civil Service Commission Chairman, Civil Service Commission: Georgiana H. Sheldon (Acting) Dec. 1976 Present Robert E. Hamptcn Jan. 1974 Dec. 1976 Executive Director: Bernard Rosen Jan. 1974 Jan. 1975 Raymond Jacobson Jan. 1975 Dec. 1976 Director, Bureau of Personnel Management Evaluation: John D. R Cole Jan. 1974 Dec. 1976 Director, ede'ral Equal Employment Opportunity: Anthony W. Hudson Mar. 1974 Dec. 1976 Department of Agriculture Secretary of Agriculture: Bob Bergland Jan. 1977 Present John A. Knebel (Acting) Oct. 1976 Jan. 1977 Earl L. Butz Jan. 1974 Oct. 1976 Assistant Secretary for Administration: Paul J. Bolduc Jan. 1974 Present Director of Personnel: S. B. Pranger Jan. 1974 Present Director, Office of Equal Opportunity: James Frazier July 1976 Present M. S. Washington (Acting) Jan. 1974 July 1976 88 APPENDIX XIII APPEND:. XIII Department of the Air Force Secretary of the Air Force: Thomas C. Reed Dec. 1975 Present James W. Plummer (Acting) Jan. 1975 Nov. 1975 John L. McLucas Nov. 1974 Dec. 1975 Deputy Assistant Secretary, Personnel Policy: James P. Goode Jan. 1974 Present Assistant for Equal Opportunity: William R. Beard Jan. 1974 Present Depatment _ of Commerce Secretary of Commerce: Juanita Morris Kreps Jan. 1977 Present Elliott L. Richardson Feb. 1976 Jan. 1977 Rogers C. B. Morton Jan. 1975 Feb. 1976 Frederick B. Dent Jan. 1974 Jan. 1975 Assistant Secretary for Administration: Guy W. Chamberlin, Jr. Jan. 1977 Present Joseph E. Kasputys (Actinq) Feb. 1976 Jan. 1977 Guy W. Chamberlin, Jr. (Acting) Jan. 1975 Feb. 197o Henry B. Turner Jan. 1974 Jan. 1975 Director, Office of Personnel: John M. Golden Feb. 1976 Present Wade B. Ropp Aug. 1974 Feb. 1976 Wade B. Ropp (Acting) July 1974 Aug. 1974 John Will Jan. 1974 June 1974 Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare: Joseph Califano, Jr. Jan. 1977 Present David Mathews Jan. 1976 Jan. 1977 Casper W. Weinberger Jan. 1974 Jan. 1976 89 APPENDIX XITI APPENDIX XIII Deputy Assistant Secretary for Personnel and Training: Raymond Sumser Feb. 1976 Present Robert M. Fisk Dec. 1975 Feb. 1976 William Russell Jan. 1974 Dec. 1975 Department of Interior Secretary of Interior: Cecil D. Andrus Jan. 1977 Present Thomas S. Kleppe Oct. 1975 Jan. 1977 Stanley K. Hathaway June 1975 Oct. 1975 Kent Frizzell (Acting) May 1975 June 1975 Rogers C. B. Morton Jan. 1974 Apr. 1975 Director, Organization and Personnel Management: John F. FIKune Jan. 1974 Present Jirector, Office cf Equal Opportunity: Edward E. Shelton Jan. 1974 Present Department of Transportation Secretary of Transportation: Brock Adams Jan. 1977 Present William T. Coleman, Jr. Mar. 1975 Dec. 1976 John W. Barnum (Acting) Feb. 1975 Mar. 1975 Claude S. Brinegar Jan. 1974 Feb. 1975 Director, Personnel and Training: R. J. Alfultis Jan. 1974 Present Director, Equal Opportunity: Carmen Turner Jan. 1976 Present James Frazier Feb. 1974 Jan. 1976 U. S. Postal Service Postmaster General: Benjamin F. Bailar Jan. 1975 Present 90 APPENDIX XIII APPENDIX XIII Senior Assistant Postmaster General, Employee and Labor Relations: James V. P. Conway Sept. 1975 Vacant Present Apr. 1975 Aucust 1975 Darrell F. Brown Jan. 175 April 1975 Director, Office of Equal Opportunity: Alvin Prejean Jan. 3.975 Present General Services Administration Administrator: Robert T. Griffin (Acting) Feb. 1977 Jack M. Eckerd Present Nov. 1975 Feb. 1977 Dwight A. Ink (Acting) Oct. Arthur F. Sampson 1975 g:,. 1975 Jana. 1974 Oct. 1975 Director, Office of Personnel: James W. Hardgrove Jan. 1974 Present Veterans Administration Administrator: Richard L. Roudebush Oct. Donald E. Johnson 1974 Present Jan. 1974 Oct. 1974 Assistant Administrator for Personnel: Richard D. Brady Jan. 1974 Present 91
System for Processing Individual Equal Employment Opportunity Discrimination Complaints: Improvements Needed
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-04-08.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)