Equal Employment Opportunity Programs

Mar 25, 2015
Press Release

Oversight Committee Passes Bill to Strengthen

Equal Employment Opportunity Programs

Washington DC (Mar. 25, 2015)—Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform passed H.R. 1557, the Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act of 2015 – introduced by Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton – to ensure that agencies effectively implement their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) programs and that federal employees are never prevented from disclosing discriminatory, abusive, or wasteful actions to Congress, the Office of Special Counsel, or Inspectors General.

“EEO programs are critical to ensuring that federal workplaces are free from discrimination, and that any barriers impeding fairness in personnel decisions are identified and eliminated,” Cummings said. “These programs are essential to ensuring that our federal workplaces uphold the guarantee of equal opportunity that is the right of every citizen in this nation.”

"Federal agencies, which at the initial level process complaints against the agency itself, must be held to the highest levels of accountability and independence," Norton said.  "This bill strengthens these basic requirements for agencies, while ensuring the due process rights of managers and supervisors."

H.R. 1557 would require that EEO programs be operated independently of an agency’s human capital or general counsel offices; require that the head of an agency’s EEO program report directly to the head of the agency; strengthen the accountability mechanisms that are central to the effectiveness of the EEO process by expanding the notifications that agencies are required to provide when discrimination is found to have occurred; and require agencies to track and report whether such findings have resulted in any disciplinary action. 

In 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a report finding that the Social Security Administration had not met the standards of a model EEO program.  H.R. 1557 would prohibit several of the program management practices that were prevalent at the Social Security Administration at the time the EEOC reviewed the agency’s EEO program.

114th Congress