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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/21/22

A Sketchy EEOC Strategic Plan Signals More Stress for Federal Employees in 2023, says the C4C Whistleblower Group

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Tanya Ward Jordan
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Last month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released for public comment its draft Strategic Plan (Plan) for Fiscal Years 2022-2026. In line with the Coalition For Change, Inc.'s (C4C), mission to promote equality in the federal workplace, the civil rights whistleblower wrote to Charlotte A. Burrows, the Chair of the EEOC. In the letter to Chair Burrows, the C4C exposed how the Plan lacked adequate performance measures to prevent discrimination in the federal workplace and omitted vital reforms in the Elijah E. Cummings Federal Employee Anti-discrimination Act (Cummings Act).

By way of background, Tanya Ward Jordan, President of the C4C, and Paulette Taylor, C4C's Civil Rights Chair, met with Congressman Cummings to identify measures to combat discrimination in the federal workplace. Congressman Cummings first introduced the measures in 2015. He did so again in 2017 and 2019. On January 1, 2021, Congress passed the measures into law under the Cummings Act,

According to Tanya Ward Jordan, the C4C's President, the EEOC's Plan snubs age-old concerns about a tainted equal employment opportunity program that lets agency officials drag beyond deadlines and submit garbled reports of investigations. Jordan said the Plan "is just more of the same" and that she often reflects on attending her first congressional hearing on Capitol Hill in March 2000. "Lawmakers grilled Carlton M. Hadden, the EEOC's Director of the Office of Federal Operations (OFO), about mishaps in the federal complaint program," Jordan said. "Twenty-two years later, the ugly situation remains. Discrimination still poisons our nation's federal workforce. Stress still impairs civil servants victimized by reprisal."

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"The Plan reveals how the EEOC is willing to enforce anti-discrimination laws in the private sector, but unwilling to do the same in the federal sector," said veteran Paulette Taylor, the C4C's Civil Rights Chair. Taylor once served as the class agent in the race-based class action discrimination complaint against the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). The Taylor, et. al vs Astrue, Commissioner, SSA case lagged in the federal administrative complaint system for nineteen years. Ultimately, in 2019, the agency was found guilty of discriminating against a group of black female SSA employees.

"The EEOC draft Plan shows a blatant disinterest in civil servants who suffer retaliation and disinterest is the same reaction the Office of Federal Operations showed me when I made a timely request for an administrative hearing," said C4C member Juanita Kennedy. "I never got a fair hearing. About a year later, an administrative judge tossed my claims back to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to let the defending department decide my case.

"The OFO, led by Director Carlton Hadden, has postured under the guise of combating federal workplace discrimination for over two decades. The truth is --- the OFO hinders civil servants who challenge discrimination that affect our nation on all fronts," said veteran Jacqueline Battle, a C4C supporter. "Discrimination harms federal employees like the nation's U.S. Marshals. It also harms our veterans, black farmers, and other taxpayers who rely on federal services. It is a grave domestic concern that warrants the Commissions' attention.

"On December 5th, the EEOC closed the period for commenting on its draft Strategic Plan. The EEOC should now actively review and committedly integrate comments in the Plan to help ebb the disruptive flow of discrimination in the federal workplace," said C4C's President Tanya Ward Jordan. "In its current state, the draft Plan tacitly promises civil servants who face crushing discriminatory acts that the EEOC will simply do business as usual. The Office of Federal Operations will lessen its workload by waiting out complainants until they miss a deadline, file a lawsuit, stress out, stroke out, or die."

The public can view the EEOC draft Strategic Plan at .regulations.gov/document/EEOC-2022-0004-0001

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Tanya Ward Jordan is the author of 17 STEPS: A Federal Employee's Guide For Tackling Workplace Discrimination. She serves as President and Founder of the Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C). C4C is an proactive non-profit self-help organization (more...)
 

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