On July 24, a rally and press conference was held in front of the EEOC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate opposition to the EEOC’s recent federal sector reform proposals. As reported here on June 5, Cari Dominguez, the chair of the EEOC, had informally proposed to drastically change the manner in which federal employee discrimination complaints are processed, including eliminating agency investigations of formal complaints and the right to a hearing before the EEOC administrative judge.

At the rally, representatives of numerous civil rights groups, unions, employee rights groups, employee advocates and other organizations voiced their opposition to the EEOC plans. Some of the organizations expressing their opposition to the EEOC’s intentions at the rally were the American Federation of Government Employees, the NAACP Federal Sector Task Force, National Treasury Employees Union, the National Council of EEOC Locals, and the Council of Federal EEO and Civil Rights Executives, which represents agency civil rights officers. At the rally, many of speakers not only expressed their concern about the possible elimination of the investigations and hearings, but also the fact that this, and other EEOC proposals to change the federal sector process, were being prepared without the input of the interested stakeholders. The speakers contrasted the present situation with past revisions in EEOC regulations which provided input from the interested stakeholders.

On July 22, these organizations, including others, sent a letter to Dominguez opposing the EEOC’s proposal to eliminate agency investigations and hearings before EEOC administrative judges. In the letter, the groups stated that the EEOC’s proposed changes to the federal sector discrimination process would, among other things, roll back the improvements obtained in the reforms made to 29 C.F.R. Part 1614 in 1999; discourage agencies from settling complaints; deprive both agencies and complainants of the necessary information to properly and fully evaluate discrimination complaints; cause a massive increase in civil rights lawsuits in federal court; and gut the spirit of the recently enacted “No FEAR” Act. (See Federal Legal Corner article dated May 29).

** This information is provided by the attorneys at Passman & Kaplan, P.C., a law firm dedicated to the representation of federal employees worldwide. For more information on Passman & Kaplan, P.C., go to http://www.passmanandkaplan.com. **