Several leading House Democrats on civil service issues have asked the GAO to look into the federal government’s equal employment opportunity complaint process, which they said “can be convoluted, slow, costly, and unjust.”
They said that their offices continue receive complaints about the same sorts of issues raised in a 2009 GAO report.
Said the letter, “Specifically, we hear from victims, plaintiffs’ attorneys, civil rights organizations, and unions that agency investigations are too lengthy and lacking in substance; there are no consequences for agencies or other EEO practitioners for missing deadlines prescribed by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations and best practices; perpetrators continue to evade accountability; EEO offices and EEOC are severely under-resourced; and EEO practitioners do not effectively communicate with complainants throughout the process.”
“We also hear concerns that the “fox is guarding the henhouse,” due to potential conflicts of interest caused by agencies conducting their own EEO complaint investigations and issuing findings on whether discrimination occurred,” they wrote.
The Civil Rights Commission last year released a report raising similar concerns specifically about sexual harassment complaint procedures, they added.
They asked GAO to report on “potential improvements to agencies’ internal processes for investigating complaints and holding offenders accountable,” and whether the process “would benefit from eliminating the requirement that employees exhaust agency administrative processes” before filing complaints with EEOC or in district court.