Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Quit Complaining! Creating Barriers to Entry into the Federal Sector EEO Complaint Process
by Phillips, Lanourra LaRay, LL.M., The George Washington University, 2014, 104; 1587722
Abstract (Summary)

Criticism of the federal sector Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint process is not a novel concept. In fact, the process has been criticized since its inception for being inefficient, redundant, and plagued by an inherent conflict of interest created by federal agencies being their own investigators, juries, and judges in resolving complaints of discrimination. Although there has always been an underlying belief that the complaint process is sometimes used inappropriately by federal workers, this belief has long been overshadowed by the competing desire to ensure federal workers are adequately protected from discrimination.

As a result, Congress and the EEOC have created and fostered a pro-complainant federal sector EEO complaint process that ends up encouraging employees, whether actual victims of discrimination or not, to enter and remain in the complaint process. The result is that instead of the process being a refuge for victims, the process itself creates additional victims. These victims include supervisors who must live in the fear and reality that they will be accused of discrimination, causing them to second guess their management decisions and avoid taking adverse actions against poor performers in the workplace. Subsequently, taxpayers suffer when poor performers remain in the federal workforce, and taxpayers suffer when they have to pay for an inefficient and ineffective EEO process. Additionally, since the process is inundated with less than meritorious complaints, true victims of discrimination end up suffering as their complaints can take years to flow through the system.

This thesis proposes that to solve the majority of the problems with the EEO complaint process and help reduce the number of people who become victims of the system, Congress or the EEOC should create barriers to entry into the process instead of continually creating regulations that make the system more complainant friendly. Such barriers could include shrinking the pool of protected and potential complainants, dismissing meritless complaints early in the process, sharing the costs and risks of the complaint process with complainants, and creating equal access to federal court. With the implementation of just one of these proposed reforms, the complaint process would see a reduction in the number of meritless complaints--or at least help to empower federal agencies to resist settling meritless complaints by taking power away from the complainant who currently holds supervisors, taxpayers, and true victims of discrimination hostage to an inefficient and ineffective process.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Craver, Charles B.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Law
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 54/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Law
Keywords: Complaint, Eeo, Federal, Process, Sector
Publication Number: 1587722
ISBN: 978-1-321-71940-6
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