Federal Government’s Employment Discrimination Complaints, Payments Fall

Federal employees and applicants filed 16,974 complaints of employment discrimination in fiscal year 2011, down about 3.5 percent from 2010.

The U.S. government paid monetary benefits to complainants totaling $43.5 million in FY 2011, down 7.3 percent from the $46.9 million paid in FY 2010. An additional $9.2 million was paid out in response to appellate decisions, a 74 percent increase from the $5.3 million paid out in FY 2010.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) annual report, retaliation was the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination in complaints filed (7,553) in fiscal year 2011. Age discrimination was the second most frequent basis of discrimination alleged (5,105). Harassment (non-sexual) was the most frequently alleged issue (5,863 in the 16,974 filed complaints).

Ιn FY 2011, 15,796 individuals filed the total 16,974 complaints alleging employment discrimination against the federal government. The number of complaints filed decreased by 3.5 percent over the previous year and there was a 4.2 percent decrease in the number of individuals who filed complaints over the same period.

In FY 2011, 6.9 percent of the complaints were filed by individuals who had filed at least one other complaint during the year, up from the 6.3 percent in FY 2010.

Federal agencies reduced the average number of days to process employment complaints by 14 days (346.38 days for FY 2011 and 360.28 for FY 2010.)

Unlike in the private sector, where the EEOC is responsible for investigating charges of discrimination but has no adjudicative authority, the federal sector equal employment opportunity complaint process calls for federal agencies to investigate EEO complaints themselves and, in most cases, issue final determinations on the merits of the complaint.