This document was downloaded and archived from  May 21, 2001.

  Daily Briefing  

March 15, 2000

Task force readies report on EEO practices

By Katy Saldarini

A report on how federal agencies can make their equal employment opportunity complaint systems more effective is on its way, according to members of an interagency task force.

The task force was convened in October 1999 to study and recommend ways to improve the EEO redress process. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is struggling to deal with a backlog of thousands of federal EEO complaints and spin-off complaints.

The group, formed by EEOC and the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, plans to issue a preliminary report on its findings this summer. The report will include recommendations for best practices and will solicit agencies to volunteer in pilot programs testing the new approaches.

"After the report is issued, the next step will be to establish some process to make this continue through some community of practice," said Carlton Hadden, acting director of the EEOC's Office of Federal Operations.

Some employees say the task force has not yet done enough to reach out to federal workers. "I think there are a lot of people out there who would like to provide suggestions if they even knew this task force was going on. I don't think there has been any effort to be inclusive," said one Labor Department employee, who requested anonymity.

Among the complaints: references to the task force are hard to find on NPR's Web site, the task force's Web site is not updated regularly, the group has not published a request for input from the federal community in the Federal Register, and outreach efforts are given little visibility and public attention.

An NPR spokesperson said the task force's Web site and NPR's Web site will be updated shortly.

While the task force acknowledges there have been some complaints, members have been successful in geting people to participate at the team level, Hadden said.

The task force includes a senior leadership committee with representatives from various interest groups, including Blacks in Government (BIG), the American Federation of Government Employees, the National Treasury Employees Union, and groups representing Hispanics, Asians and people with disabilities.

The NAACP declined to join the task force, dismissing it as a "logo for maintaining the status quo," said Leroy W. Warren, chairman of the NAACP's federal sector task force. "We're not going to get in bed with them. We want to be able to speak freely," he said.

Gerald Reed, National President of BIG, said federal employees should use the senior leadership committee as a vehicle for input. "I would advise every other stakeholder group to go to their senior leadership committee member that sits at the table to make sure their concerns are addressed. So far it's been successful for us."

According to Reed, BIG's initial concerns about having a voice within the task force were alleviated once its members understood that despite the official name of the group--"NPR/EEOC Interagency Federal EEO Task Force"--it was set up to focus narrowly on the complaint process. People might be confused about the name and think the task force's mission is broader, Reed said.

The task force will take time to listen to what the interested parties are saying before publishing its report this summer, Hadden said. In fact, the task force has deliberately avoided setting a specific deadline for its report to make sure it has enough time to receive and process comments.

"We really do want ideas. This is the first time that we've had a setting where it's not just the agencies and the EEOC, but also the advocacy groups having a dialogue. So we do indeed want feedback. This is perfect time for that," he said.

The task force's Web site includes an e-mail address ( to which comments can be send, Hadden said. In addition, several town hall meetings are being planned in San Antonio, Texas, St. Louis, Mo., and Los Angeles, Calif. A town hall meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 25 at EEOC headquarters in Washington.

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