US Representative Carolyn Maloney attends festival on Roosevelt Island NY April 2019 - Image Editorial credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Lawmakers raise concern over EEOC rule change

Two House leaders are requesting more information from the Employment Opportunity Commission about a proposed change that would reverse a long-standing official time rule.

For decades, the EEOC has required that federal agencies allow employees to use work hours to file a formal discrimination complaint on behalf of themselves or a co-worker. However, late last year, the EEOC proposed a rule change that would prohibit the practice.

The December 11, 2019 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking “would amend that agency requirement and allow agencies to deny the use of official time by any representative who is ‘an officer, steward or otherwise in an official capacity’ of a union.” 

Only union representatives from the government-wide Equal Employment Opportunity would be excluded from the rule.

The “existing rule ensures that representatives chosen by complainants, if they are employees of the agency, ‘shall be on official time’ when they advise, accompany, and represent complainants,” a House Oversight and Reform Committee news release states.

Committee Chairman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) wrote a letter to EEOC Chairwoman Janet Dhillon, looking for more information.

“[W]e are extremely concerned about the potential effects of this proposed rule on the enforcement of employment anti-discrimination laws and policies affecting federal employees and the fairness of the federal workplace,” they wrote.

They requested a number of documents related to the proposal, including all communications, research, analyses and opinions related to the decision.

“As the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, which has jurisdiction over Title 5 of the U.S. Code, the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute (FSLMRS), and the Civil Service Reform Act, and the Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, which has jurisdiction over EEOC, we are extremely concerned about the potential effects of this proposed rule on the enforcement of employment anti-discrimination laws and policies affecting federal employees and the fairness of the federal workplace,” the Chairs wrote.

Read the full letter here.

Reader comments

Fri, Jan 24, 2020 SAM USA

I do not see this as a problem for employees as much as I see it turning into a huge problem for Uncle Sam. All federal employees need to start doing is instead of filing a grievance or EEO complaint ___ just get a Lawyer instead and file a law suit against Uncle Sam. We will then find out how much the Justice Department likes fighting thousands of employment law suits in a court room before a Jury instead.

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