Federal employers have reduced the time they take to process job discrimination complaints, according to a new study by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Between 2010 and 2011, federal agencies cut 14 days from the average amount of time it takes to process equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaints, concludes the Annual Report on the Federal Work Force Part I: EEO Complaints Processing for Fiscal Year 2011.
“This report has some encouraging news, particularly looking at how federal agencies have reduced the time for processing EEO complaints,” said Carlton M. Hadden, the director of the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations, in a statement.
Federal law requires federal sector employers to investigate job discrimination complaints themselves and, in most cases, issue final determinations on the merits.
The study found that it took an average of 346.38 days for federal agencies to process complaints in fiscal year 2011, down from an average of 360.28 days in 2010. Federal employers also reduced the average number of days to process complaints on the merits by 51 days (429.89 days for 2011 and 480.99 for 2010).
In addition, the study found that federal agencies increased the number of timely issued decisions on the merits by 5 percent.
Overall, federal employees and applicants filed 16,974 complaints of employment discrimination in fiscal year 2011, the study found. Retaliation (7,553 complaints) was the most frequent claim against federal employers in 2011, followed by age discrimination (5,105 complaints).
“While federal agencies must remain focused on ensuring timely processing of EEO complaints, they also must make real their obligation to make their workplaces genuine models of EEO employment,” Hadden said in his statement.
In a related study released earlier this year, the EEOC found that minorities are making progress in securing senior level positions in federal agencies.