Staff report details high-profile litigation failures and deep backlog at agency charged with protecting American workers from discrimination
Posted on November 24, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 24 –U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the senior Republican on the Senate labor committee, today released a staff report that finds litigation missteps at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are costing taxpayers millions while EEOC faces a deep backlog of discrimination complaints.
The report finds that today’s EEOC “is pursuing many questionable cases through sometimes overly aggressive means—and, as a result, has suffered significant court losses that are embarrassing to the agency and costly to taxpayers. Courts have found EEOC’s litigation tactics to be so egregious they have ordered EEOC to pay defendants’ attorney’s fees in ten cases since 2011. The courts have criticized EEOC for misuse of its authority, poor expert analysis, and pursuit of novel cases unsupported by law.”
While the agency has pursued high-profile lawsuits without a complainant, in March 2014 EEOC reported almost 71,000 unresolved complaints of discrimination from individuals who filed charges. Further, its litigation has recovered almost $200 million less for victims than under the previous administration over the same time frame.
The report finds that EEOC also has suffered from a troubling lack of transparency. In the past two and a half years, EEOC has ignored calls from current commissioners and Congress to allow public review of significant and controversial guidance prior to its adoption. Also, the Office of General Counsel has, since 2010, failed to issue its standard annual report, and the agency is being sued for violating the Freedom of Information Act.”
“Today’s EEOC has had successful enforcement efforts and court victories for victims of discrimination, but this report finds the agency is increasingly demonstrating poor judgment and using questionable tactics in pursuit of cases that are not fulfilling the EEOC’s objective of protecting employees from workplace discrimination,” the report concludes.
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