federal case assessment efforts recall private sector program
By Drew Long
cyberFEDS® Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- A
case assessment program being developed by an Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission field office has been compared to
a similar program designed for the commission's private sector division.
EEOC officials acknowledge
some similarities, but contend the programs are completely
different. Critics claim the assessment program was modeled after the
private sector program and neither is appropriate for federal sector EEO
EEOC officials assert that
the Washington Field Office's proposed Assessment Program for Hearings
Units was not based on the commission's Priority Case Handling
Procedures program, which was developed by the EEOC
for its private sector cases. A senior official in the Washington Field
Office, however, conceded that there are similarities because both
categorize cases into three tracks.
case handling reform project comes under fire (04/09/04)
Commission is still mum on EEO reform
With no plan on the table, Dominguez promises EEO reform
EEO reform discussions yield no calls for system overhaul
reform proposal was 'briefly' implemented (08/12/02)
may eliminate hearing process (06/03/02)
In 2002, officials
in the Washington Field Office briefly used the PCHP program to manage
federal sector EEO cases, but stopped after widespread criticism. Now
the field office is bargaining with the American Federation of
Government Employees because it wants to implement the APHU to improve
its EEO complaint processing.
But critics of
both programs argue that they are basically the same, and that the APHU
should go through the traditional regulatory process before
implementation because it would alter the federal EEO process.
The APHU calls for
field office staff to categorize cases into red, yellow and green tracks
before they are forwarded to an administrative judge. Cases slated for
traditional processing, such as a hearing, would be coded green. Cases
selected for summary judgment would be yellow, and cases deemed
appropriate for dismissal would be red. The final decision on any case
would be left to the AJ.
The PCHP divided
cases into A, B and C categories. Cases coded A or B would proceed
through the traditional process, though B cases would require additional
information. Cases in the C category would be dismissed.
EEOC AJs would not review category C cases.
similarities, Dana Hutter, acting director for the Washington Field
Office, insists the APHU was not modeled after the PCHP.
[includes] is a decision by us as to which cases are going to be given
priority and resources relative to the other [cases]," Hutter told
cyberFEDS®. "It also provides for the immediate dismissal of cases
that are categorized as C. The assessment process here does not carry
with it the ultimate decision that goes with the PCHP private sector
program. ... I can see the parallels, but there are important
But the AFGE's
Regina Andrew told cyberFEDS® that portions of the draft APHU
document make references to putting cases into lettered categories.
"They set up a
triage that is nothing more than the PCHP," said Andrew, president of
AFGE local 3614, which represents EEOC employees in
the Washington Field Office. "A lot of people have looked at [the
assessment program document] and said the same thing."
The final version
may not resemble the current version closely. Hutter is in negotiations
with AFGE over the program and told cyberFEDS® that it could be
Andrew posted a
copy of the draft proposal on the local's
Web site [PDF file].
comments in cyberFEDS®
April 13, 2004
Copyright 2004© LRP Publications