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Is the Social Security Administration an Equal Opportunity Employer?

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Earlier this year, the SSA was accused of breaching a 2002 racial discrimination settlement agreement that provided for $6.35 million to be distributed to African-American male class members. Circa July 2007, Black Males For Justice at SSA pursued another class complaint against the agency. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission the agency breached the Settlement Agreement when it "failed to ensure that its policies and practices for granting performance awards and quality step increases were fair and equitable and consistent with merit principles." The EEOC remanded the case to an Administrative Judge (AJ) to administer relief. The SSA is also currently embroiled with two other class action discrimination law suits. The Taylor, et al. v. Astrue, Commissioner, Social Security Administration involves African-American female employees. The other pending class action suit, Jantz, et al. vs Astrue, involves disabled employees.

Last month, The Coalition For Change, Inc., (C4C), Inc., sent a letter to Michael Astrue, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) challenging his commitment to a fair and equitable workplace -- free of discrimination. In its letter, the C4C Acting President, Mr. Philip Taylor, questioned how these "law suits are impacting the Agency's morale and work productivity." The C4C challenged the SSA's ability to successfully meet its mission and to effectively and efficiently serve the American taxpayer when so much time and resources are devoted to addressing three discrimination class action law suits. As a result of these three suits, the C4C accused the SSA leadership of a "callous indifference" toward ensuring that all of its employees are subjected to a workplace of fairness, dignity and equal opportunity.

According to SSA's NO FEAR Act data of internal complaint activity, employees filed 562 complaints in FY2010. This is an increase from FY2009 in which complaints totaled 477. Over the last five years, a reported 2,030 complaints have been filed by SSA employees largely alleging race discrimination and retaliation for reporting civil rights violations. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Annual Report on the Federal Workforce for FY2010, SSA ranked in the top 3 for agencies with the highest complainant rates.

C4C questions the social security administration's frequent failure to hire qualified African-Americans. Tanya Ward Jordan, Founder of C4C, points to the non-selection racial discrimination case of Jarvis v. Astrue (Civil Action 05-2950) as an example of the agency's failure to promote diversity and equality. In this case Mr. Jarvis (Black male) received the highest score of the five applicants at 97 points. Yet, SSA gave the position to a white male who was part of a three-way tie for last place with 70 points. The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C) is requesting the commissioner to respond to what steps, during his four years tenure have been taken in addressing employment discrimination at the SSA; ensuring that a fair and equitable work environment is achieved; and holding SSA managers accountable for violating employees' civil rights.

About the C4C:

The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C), a public interest group, serves as an informational support network for present and former Federal employees injured as a result of workplace discrimination. The C4C's mission is to expose and eradicate racism in the Federal government thus fostering efficiency, effectiveness and transparency in Federal programs and operations. To learn more about C4C see link


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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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