The EEOC says that it reduced its number of appeals pending there during 2019 despite an increase in the number of cases, with a special emphasis on cases that have been pending for an extensive time; such cases have long been a source of frustration both for employees who bring EEO appeals and for management officials involved in responding to them.
In its annual performance report, the EEOC said that as of last September, 97 cases were pending for more than 500 days, down from 601 in 2018 and from a peak of 1,542 in 2016. The inventory of cases 300 or days old was reduced by nearly two-thirds and the average age of pending appeals was reduced by 25 percent, to 234 days, it said.
“At the same time, more than 37 percent of the total resolutions were issued within 180 days of their receipt. These resolutions included 762 initial appeals from procedural dismissals that terminated complainants’ participation in the EEO process, reversing over 34 percent of those dismissals with an order to the agency to continue processing the EEO complaint. Quickly addressing appeals involving procedural dismissals of complaints is critical to effectively preserving access to the EEO complaint process.”
It cited case management strategies that allowed for “screening and categorization of cases early in the appellate process, including cases determined to have significant impact. This early screening process was greatly aided by the full implementation of the FedSEP digital portal, where agencies can upload the documentation necessary to process an appeal, as well as the public portal that was fully deployed during fiscal year 2019, enabling complainants to request appeals, upload selected documents, and manage their personal and representative’s contact information.”
It also cited training and outreach efforts to agencies to “speed record submissions, perfect defective records, and reduce wasted efforts spent on records not ripe for adjudication.”