EEOC: Feds Still Not Hiring Enough Disabled Workers

July 17, 2003 ( - Federal agencies may have made progress in employing a diverse workforce during FY 2002, but they still have a ways to go when it comes to giving jobs to disabled applicants.

>That was the conclusion of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Annual Report on the Federal Work Force for Fiscal Year 2002, available at .

“The bad news is that we have a failing grade in the employment of individuals with disabilities, as their numbers continue to decline,” said Commission Chair Cari Dominguez in a statement. “With the many management initiatives that have been introduced this year, we hope to report an improved grade for FY 2003.”   For example, while the federal workforce decreased by 7.33% from FY 1993 through FY 2002, the government-wide employment rate for people with disabilities decreased by 12.49%, according to the report.

>Other findings include, that:

  • the largest percentage of black federal employees was employed in lower grade level, 1 to 8, positions (43.78%), and mid-level, 9 to 12, positions (34.17%).
  • the number of women in Senior Pay Level (SPL) positions increased from 13.4% in FY 1993 to 25.06% in FY 2002 while the participation rate for blacks in SPL positions was up from 4.92% in FY 1993 to 7.02% in FY 2002. In FY 2002, the rate of federal workers with disabilities was 4.05%

>The report also features data regarding the filing of EEO complaints and agencies’ case management practices. In FY 2002, a total of 17,348 federal employees and applicants (down 2% from FY 2001) filed a total of 21,945 complaints (down 6% from FY 2001) alleging employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age and disability. The average processing time for agencies’ investigation of complaints was 267 days. The average processing time for issuing final agency decisions without a hearing in complaints was 326 days, down from 402 in FY 2001.

>Federal regulations provide EEO complainants with the right to request a hearing before an EEOC administrative judge after the employing agency has investigated the complaint. During FY 2002, the EEOC received 9,617 requests for hearings. The EEOC resolved 11,666 complaints at the hearings stage, a 24%-increase over the previous year, lowering the hearings inventory pending at the end of the year to 10,072.

>The same regulations permit complainants to appeal final decisions requested from an agency without a hearing and final agency actions following a hearing. Appeals are adjudicated by the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO). During FY 2002, OFO received 6,725 appeals, 2% fewer than the number received in FY 2001. OFO resolved a total of 9,452 appeals, including a 77% reduction in the number of cases older than 500 days. Of the 4,383 appellate decisions, which addressed the merits of underlying discrimination claims, OFO made findings of discrimination in 5% of the cases, a 14% increase over the number of such findings in FY 2001. The year-end pending inventory was 4,809 appeals.

>During FY 2002, complainants obtained approximately $143.1 million in total monetary awards as a result of EEO complaints closed by agencies, following a hearing, or on appeal.