EEOC Performance Results: Investigations Still Slow
As many observers noted, the EEOC’s Performance Results for the FY 2009 Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) were released toward the end of last year. The PAR is based on the EEOC’s current modified Strategic Plan for FY 2007 through FY 2010 which was approved by the Commission in 2008.
The current strategic plan contained various performance measures which were used to “drive results and accountability” throughout the EEOC. These measures are directly related to the Commission’s three front-line enforcement operations—processing private sector charges, litigating private sector cases, and conducting hearings/appeals of federal sector cases.
The EEOC reports that it has achieved or exceeded its targets in four measures which concern enforcement and litigation:
- Completing a high percentage of its federal sector appellate cases within 180 days or less;
- Ensuring that the agency achieves a high level of quality in its investigations of private sector discrimination charges;
- Continuing to ensure that charging parties and respondents who choose to participate in the Commission’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program are satisfied with the ADR process; and
- Maintaining a high level of success in the Commission’s litigation program.
Unfortunately, the EEOC also reports that it missed its mark in two measures which involve the resolution of private sector charges and federal sector hearings within 180 days or less. Apparently, it has become increasingly more difficult over the past years for the EEOC to meet the established targets for these two measures, and the Commission did not meet its targets for the measures in FY 2009.
So where were the targets set? Good question. For FY 2009, the EEOC had hoped that it would resolve at least 48% of private sector charges within 180 days. And how did the EEOC perform? Only 39.7% of the private sector charges were resolved within 180 days. Simply put, more than half the time a private sector charge is filed, the EEOC is unable to resolve it in 180 days which, as a practical reality, means that a private sector claimaint can request a right-to-sue letter and initiate litigation.
This result comes as no surprise to the many employers that experience delay during the EEOC’s investigation process and the seemingly never-ending back and forth communication with EEOC investigators. Looking on the bright side, though, one could say that these reports show that the EEOC desires to improve its processing times and has, at least for now, set yardsticks to measure its progress or lack thereof. The full text of the Performance Results can be found on the EEOC’s website at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/2009par_performance.cfm.