EEOC could save money by streamlining operations, report says

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission could save money by streamlining services, moving or closing some field offices, encouraging flexible work arrangements and investing in new technology, according to a new report from the National Academy of Public Administration.

Faced with rising costs and a modest budget, the EEOC is having a harder time fulfilling its mission of preventing workplace discrimination and adjudicating discrimination suits, according to the NAPA report released on Feb. 25. NAPA is an independent, nonprofit organization chartered by Congress.

The cost of renting office space has increased significantly at 51 field locations and is rising at more than $1 million a year at some locations, the report said. These and other escalating expenses have required the EEOC to implement an agencywide hiring freeze and delay some technology modernization projects. At the same time, the commission is facing an increasing number of private sector discrimination cases and a backlog of federal cases, according to the report.

EEOC leaders decided to reorganize the agency, in hopes of cutting costs and using scarce resources more wisely. They requested that NAPA help them develop a plan. They are currently looking at NAPA's report to decide which recommendations they will implement.

In the mid-1990s, the EEOC streamlined the way that it processes private sector discrimination cases and revised the federal hearings process, but these changes were not "sufficient to align the EEOC's structure and processes with its budget and broadened mission," the report said. "The commission needs more fundamental changes to enable it to provide its diverse, far-flung customers with the level and quality of services they need."

NAPA's top priority for the EEOC is the establishment of a national call center that would allow EEOC customers to get their questions answered at a central toll-free number. Phone line staff would be equipped to take down basic information about inquiries and inform customers about the status of their claims, taking some of the burden off the local offices that spend a good portion of their time answering such calls now.

The EEOC should also eliminate some local offices and consider moving others to places where they will be the most effective, NAPA suggested. To determine where the offices are most needed, the report suggests that EEOC look at demographic data and employment trends to see where the highest number of discrimination cases are likely to emerge in the near future. Once EEOC determines a good location for the offices, it should consider ways to reduce rent costs, such as leasing office space at the outskirts of a city or sharing space with other federal agencies, the report added.

In addition, the EEOC should do more to encourage flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting, so that workers can respond to complaints in person at a wide variety of locations. Currently, the commission has 914 people on alternate work schedules, and many telecommute at least one day a week, the report said.

But the practice could become more prevalent if the EEOC worked to develop technology that would let workers access the commission's computer systems and data from remote locations, while protecting the security of the systems. The new remote access system would have to include adequate firewalls, antivirus protection, intrusion detection systems, password authentication ID systems and encryption software on the laptops that telecommuters carry when they travel.

The report suggest several other technological advances that would help the EEOC increase efficiency and reduce costs, including the development of an electronic charge filing system. Ideally, this system would collect basic information about cases and then allow EEOC staff to follow up with customers for in-person or phone interviews.

But technology improvements would not help solve all of the EEOC's problems, the report cautioned. "While technology improvements such as electronic charge filing will provide better access for many, there are millions of people who do not use or have access to the Internet," NAPA said. The new technology would go hand-in-hand with policies to encourage telecommuting and encourage workers to do a better job by giving them better training and holding them accountable for their performance, the report said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.