Small Gains Made in Diversity Government-Wide, Data Shows EEO Complaints Were Down
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today released the second part of its Annual Report on the Federal Work Force Part II: Work Force Statistics, Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 (Part II) and the first part of its Annual Report on the Federal Work Force Part I: Complaints Processing Statistics FY2012 (Part I).
Part II advises the President and Congress on the state of equal employment opportunity (EEO) in the federal sector and contains a summary of selected federal agency EEO program activities, including work force profiles of 65 agencies.
"While the federal government continues to be a leader in workforce diversity, further progress is needed for it to become a model workplace for all employees," said Carlton Hadden, Director of EEOC's Office of Federal Operations. "Agencies should pay particular attention to increasing diversity among the Senior Executive Service and at the highest grade levels, as well as enhancing recruitment and retention of people with targeted disabilities."
Agency profiles contained in Part II highlight work force participation rates by race, gender, national origin and individuals with targeted disabilities, as well as the breakdown for major occupational categories. The report covers the period from October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011.
According to the latest data for FY 2011, there were more than 2.8 million women and men employed by the federal government across the country and worldwide. Of the total federal workforce, 56.19% were men and 43.81% were women. The overall participation rate for women fell slightly from 43.97% in FY 2010 after a period of steady gains.
Overall diversity in federal employment rose slightly in FY 2011, even as the total federal work force declined. According to the report, between FY 2010 and 2011 the work force participation rates increased for employees who are:
Hispanic or Latino, from 7.90% to 7.95%;
Asian, from 5.90% to 5.95%;
Black or African American, from 17.94% to 17.97%; and
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, from 0.36% to 0.38 %.
Additionally, the number of federal employees with targeted disabilities rose to 0.90% after a consecutive 10-year decline, followed by three years of holding steady at 0.88%. Targeted disabilities are considered the most severe impairments and include deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorders, intellectual disabilities, mental illness, and distortion of the limb and/or spine. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) collects
data for the total number of employees with disabilities government-wide.
In FY 2011, the federal government modified the way that it captures certain pay data for federal employees. As a result, EEOC needed to retool its reporting and reconstitute 10 years of data for trending purposes. Readers and users of the report are therefore advised to use caution in making any comparisons between FY 2011 senior level pay data and the senior level pay data reported in earlier years. Further information on statistical reporting changes is available online at www.www.eeoc.gov/federal/reports/fsp2011_2/facts.cfm.
According to the report, EEO complaints government-wide are decreasing. Further, timely completions of agency investigations government-wide are up slightly while the percent of timely issued merit decisions declined from last year. Among the key statistics included in the report are:
Of the 34,521 instances of pre-complaint counseling by agencies in FY 2012, more than half (54.2%) did not result in a formal complaint.
In FY 2012, 15,837 complaints were filed alleging employment discrimination against federal agencies - a decrease of almost 7% compared to the prior year.
Government-wide, a total of 10,226 investigations were completed in an average of 187 days in FY 2012, a slight increase in days from the prior year.
Agencies paid monetary benefits to EEO complainants totaling $51.4 million in FY 2012, up 18.2% from the prior year. An additional $10.8 million was paid out to complainants in response to EEOC appellate decisions, a 17.4% jump from the prior year.
The Office of Federal Operations (OFO) is designing a new format for its FY 2013 Annual Report. With that in mind, OFO anticipates announcing a survey to federal agencies in the coming months for reformatting and data uses, as well as data availability suggestions. The survey results will assist OFO in designing its new report formats and data file releases.
OFO also plans to release two other reports before the end of September, 2014. These reports will address implementation of the fifth priority contained in the EEOC agency-wide Strategic Plan: Preserving Access to the Legal System.
Within the confines of the federal sector, the two upcoming reports will address:
Providing employees with adequate information about their rights under federal EEO laws, rules and regulations, and
Common errors by federal agencies in dismissing complaints of discrimination on procedural grounds.
The first report will be issued as a practical guide on various methods to ensure that agency employees and applicants have access to their legal rights regarding the federal sector EEO process under the 29 C.F.R. Part 1614 - the major regulation governing the EEO process. The report will address EEOC's expectation that federal agencies, whenever possible, will utilize electronic methods to make EEO rights information available for its employees and applicants in an expeditious manner.
The second report will show the percentage of dismissal decisions made by federal agencies of EEO complaints by employees or applicants, which OFO must reverse and remand back to the originating agency for further processing. The report will provide additional guidance for federal agencies making dismissal decisions in order to reduce dismissal decision reversals and ultimately prevent delays in EEO case processing.
EEOC is charged with monitoring federal agency compliance with EEO laws and procedures, reviewing and assessing the effect of agencies' compliance with requirements to maintain continuing affirmative employment programs to promote equal employment opportunity, and to identify and eliminate barriers to equality of employment opportunity.
The EEOC enforces laws prohibiting discrimination in the federal and private sectors. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.