The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has released a new report called Preserving Access to the Legal System: Common Errors by Federal Agencies in Dismissing Complaints of Discrimination on Procedural Grounds which is designed to improve the federal sector complaint process.
In the equal employment opportunity (EEO) process for federal employees and applicants for federal employment, federal agencies initially process complaints of employment discrimination. In doing so, agencies may dismiss complaints without investigation on a variety of procedural grounds described in federal sector regulations (29 C.F.R. Part 1614).
These dismissal decisions may be appealed by complainants to EEOC. Of the appellate decisions issued each year by the EEOC on federal agency dismissals, approximately one-third are reversed, with the complaints being remanded by EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) to the agencies for investigation.
“Preservation of access to the legal system is one of the Commission’s critical priorities,” said Carlton Hadden, director of OFO. “In support of that goal, the EEOC examined its appellate decisions, focusing on procedural dismissals by federal agencies of EEO discrimination complaints. Our report analyzed decisions which resulted in a reversal of dismissals, to identify any common errors. By doing so, we hope to reduce the number of incorrect procedural dismissals by federal agencies.”