EEOC Report Examines Trends in Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Managers’ Reporting Structure | US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today released a report indicating progress in compliance with requirements to have EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) managers at federal agencies report directly to the heads of those agencies. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has long held the view that a direct reporting structure—where the agency head oversees the person who controls the agency’s EEOC on a day-to-day basis—should be established to keep the EEOC program effective and compliant. The Elijah E. Cummings Federal Anti-Discrimination Act of 2020 (Cummings Act) was the first law to mandate a direct reporting structure for the federal government.

This report builds on empirical evidence collected by the EEOC over the years and combines several of these sources to provide a comprehensive assessment of agencies’ reporting structures after the passing of the Cummings Act. First, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) examined data from agencies’ MD-715 and Form 462 reports from fiscal year (FY) 2019 and fiscal year 2020. EEOC researchers ranked these agencies by size and identified relevant trends in compliance to make recommendations for further action. The results of the EEOC FY2021 survey of Equal Employment Opportunity managers for the federal sector are also included in this section. EEOC found:

  • Small and medium-sized federal agencies demonstrated high levels of compliance with reporting structure requirements in fiscal year 2019: 67% and 61%, respectively. In contrast, 45% of large agencies, 36% of cabinet-level agencies, and 23% of National Guard offices reported compliance.
  • In fiscal 2020, compliance levels increased for all agencies, except for those in the mid-size category (down to 56%). Small agencies achieved the highest levels of compliance (76%) that year, suggesting that their practices can be a model for other agencies.
  • The EEOC FY2021 survey identified similar trends in compliance—small agencies again had the highest levels of success (47%). In comparison, only 33% of medium-sized organizations, 36% of large organizations, and 29% of agencies at the Cabinet level report compliance. Only 13% of National Guard offices complied that year.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also conducted a survey of federal sector Equal Employment Opportunity Managers to obtain these officials’ views on the impact of the direct reporting structure on their programs. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 214 responses from 154 agencies. The survey results found further evidence of the importance of a direct reporting structure in maintaining a successful EEO program:

  • The vast majority of respondents from agencies with a direct reporting structure stated that their impact was either very positive (72%) or positive (20%) that had affected their agency’s EEO.
  • Respondents from agencies with a direct reporting structure maintained frequent contact with their agency head, with approximately 47% reporting daily or weekly contacts, 21% biweekly, and 28% monthly.
  • In agencies that do not have a direct reporting structure, 41% of respondents cited leadership’s reluctance to lead as the main obstacle to establishing this structure in their agency.

“Although compliance with the direct reporting mandate needs improvement, this study shows a good start in improving structures to increase equal opportunity in the federal workplace,” said Carlton Hadden, Director of the Office of Federal Operations (OFO) at EEOC. “I hope this increase is an ongoing trend. And that all agencies abide by the law.”

EEOC directives have required a direct reporting structure for more than a decade, and many previous executive orders over decades have implemented such a practice. By passing the Cummings Act, the US Congress set a requirement for the direct reporting structure in federal agencies. The EEOC expects that with the obvious benefits of a direct reporting structure, more agencies will comply with the law.

The EEOC promotes opportunities in the workplace by enforcing federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

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