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EEOC taking more comments on ‘official time’

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is reopening the comment period for the proposed rule on clarifying the use of official time for federal employees representing their co-workers in equal employment opportunity matters.

The EEOC received more than 1,800 comments before the comment period closed on Feb. 10. Due to the high level of interest on the topic, the EEOC said, it wants to ensure that all interested stakeholders have ample opportunity to comment.

In its comments submitted under the original deadline, the American Federation of Government Employees stated: “At a time when federal agencies have been instructed to strive to severely limit official lime under the [Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Stature], the Commission's motivations merely constitute a further attempt to constrain the federal sector unions ability to represent federal sector bargaining unit employees.”

In addition to limiting unions’ ability to represent federal workers, the proposed rule “would create enormous cost obstacles for federal workers who want to file an EEO complaint,” according to comments filed by the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank dedicated to supporting low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions.  “By prohibiting the use of official time in EEO complaints, federal workers are faced with the choice of hiring a private attorney or asking an inexperienced coworker to be their representative. The cost of an attorney will be prohibitive for many vulnerable federal workers and between the choices of hiring an attorney, asking an inexperienced co-worker to be a representative, or not filing at all, many will forgo exercising their rights.”

The new deadline for comments is July 31.

Reader comments

Wed, Jun 3, 2020 Forrest Fisher TX

It is no more than a mask to deny Federal employees, quality representation, against an unfair employer or EEOC judge.Basically cover up for Federal Supervisors,

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