Most federal agencies and subcomponents have demonstrated leadership commitment to EEO policies, but that is only to “varying degrees,” the EEOC has said, adding that “the involvement of leadership in promoting EEO is crucial to creating a workplace culture that does not tolerate discrimination.”
“There is reason to believe that organizational commitment to equal employment opportunities will prevent employment discrimination,” said the latest annual report on the federal workplace EEO program, a report that also gathered data on what the EEOC considers to be four indicators of management support.
It found that 95 percent of agencies evaluate managers and supervisors on their commitment to EEO; in 90 percent senior managers assist EEO staff with barrier analysis; and 94 percent make reasonable accommodations procedures readily available and accessible. However, at 35 percent of agencies and subcomponents, the EEO director did not report directly to the top person as required by EEOC regulations.
“Not including the EEO director among senior management implies that the agency does not consider EEO a priority. Furthermore, in program evaluations, EEOC has found that EEO directors sometimes report to the heads of human resources, who are often responsible for the agency’s defense to claims of discrimination. The resulting conflict of interest may cause employees to doubt the impartialness of the EEO process and to hesitate to seek EEO counseling. Non-compliant agencies should remedy this deficiency,” it said.
Preventing EEO violations also reduces costs, it added. Pre-complaint resolutions that include monetary benefits result in an average award of nearly $8,000 and the average cost of an investigation into a complaint is nearly $4,000.