Fewer federal employees filed discrimination claims in 2011, but processing hearings and appeals still took longer because complainants more frequently pursued additional actions, according to a report released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Monday.
Compared to fiscal 2010, 3.5 percent fewer complaints were filed in fiscal 2011 by 4.2 percent fewer federal employees, the commission reported. The EEOC said that 15,796 federal employees had filed 16,974 complaints in fiscal 2011, with 6.9 percent filing multiple complaints. Additionally, 74.7 percent of the 8,103 investigations were completed within the 180 day time limit, compared to 75.8 percent punctually completed in fiscal 2010.
In 2011, 5,176 people filed appeals, up from 4,545 the year before. The processing time for hearings had increased by approximately 4 percent, to 345 days, whereas the processing time for appeals had increased by 30 percent to 378 days.
As The Washington Post noted, the Labor Department had the most complaints as a percentage of workforce. The Defense Commissary Agency and the Government Printing Office also ranked high in complaints. The report indicated that the U.S. Postal Service had the highest percentage of its employees -- nearly 2.1 percent of the workforce -- complete counseling activities in 2011.
The Federal Times found that the staff of the EEOC had declined by nearly 3 percent, from 2,479 in September 2011 to 2,378 in March 2012.