Maloney and Speier Request GAO Study of Anti-Harassment Programs, Complaint Processes for Federal Employees

Sep 22, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (September 22, 2021)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Jackie Speier, Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, sent a letter to Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), requesting a study on how the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint process and anti-harassment programs can better prevent and remedy unlawful employment discrimination and advance equal opportunity in the workplace.


“As the largest employer in the United States, the federal government should serve as a model employer by processing complaints fairly and expeditiously, holding perpetrators accountable, and providing victims with relief,” the Members wrote.  “As Members of Congress committed to safe and respectful workplaces, we know that the federal government is only as good as its civil servants, all of whom deserve to do their jobs in safety and with dignity.  Unfortunately, too often federal employees are casualties of a process that can be convoluted, slow, costly, and unjust.”


Today’s letter requests that the GAO study focus on the following areas:


  • The federal sector EEO complaint process and anti-harassment programs at agencies and the extent to which these processes and programs adhere to applicable regulations, directives, standards for internal control, and best practices;


  • Challenges that impede the prompt, fair, and impartial processing of federal EEO complaints, and potential improvements and reforms to EEO complaint processes, based on perspectives of EEO practitioners and other key stakeholders; and


  • Potential improvements to agencies’ internal processes investigating complaints and holding offenders accountable when EEO complaints or harassment allegations are substantiated.


The Members request this comprehensive review as an update to a 2009 GAO study and a 2020 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ report that identified weaknesses in federal government EEO and anti-harassment policies that can hinder the ability of federal employees to seek remedies from workplace harassment or misconduct.


Click here to read today’s letter to GAO.



117th Congress