Tuesday, February 18, 2014

OSC and EEOC Work Together to Enforce EEO Laws for Feds

Can’t one agency alone get the job done of enforcing laws? Apparently not, cause this is more of synergy than incompetence. In their aim to help effectively implement equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws in the federal sector, two US agencies have renewed their pact of working together to achieve a great goal.

EEOC and OSC: Together for Fed Workers

While there have been many EEO laws that have been implemented over the years, one can’t deny that there are still inequalities in the federal workplace. Some people still fall victims to harassment, and discrimination, keeping the good employees ineffective in doing their jobs, and the undeserving people getting credit for the job done.

The EEOC’s main function is to enforce the federal laws to prevent employment discrimination. On the other hand, the OSC is tasked to protect the federal employees as well as others from “prohibited personnel practices” like discrimination, coercion of the person’s political activity, deception and obstruction of an employee to compete for employment, nepotism, reprising against whistleblowing, threatening to take a personnel action as a form of retaliation, among others. There is a great similarity in the function of the two agencies; and so synergizing their efforts in properly implementing EEO laws in the federal workplace would be very ideal. This prompted the US Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the US Equal employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to come up with a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that commits to enhancing efficiency and the enforcement of federal sector EEO laws.

In a simple ceremony, EEOC’s chair Jacqueline Berrien and OSC’s head Carolyn Lerner signed the MOU between the two agencies. This MOU that supersedes all of the prior ones signed, includes – but is not limited to – the following points:

•    The EEOC will be referring to the OSC when it comes to potential enforcement action cases where the former finds that an agency, an officer, or its employee has made any acts of discrimination against any of the employees or applicants for employment

•    Likewise, the EEOC will refer to the OSC for potential enforcement action cases where a federal agency fails in complying with an EEOC order, as well as any other case or matter that need warrants enforcement by the OSC, as determined by the EEOC.

•    Should the EEOC determine that the employing agency failed to, or will not at all take the appropriate action, the OSC may intervene to investigate such matters up to a point needed so that it can determine the sufficiency of the basis for coming up with such disciplinary action.

While developments like these make things easier for federal employees to protect their rights and stand up against discrimination, the importance of the views of a good California employment lawyer cannot be discounted. They say two heads are better than one. Now imagine having a lawyer further boosting your chances of winning your claims? Yes, two agencies working together are indeed more effective than one. And with the little help from a competent attorney, the possibility of winning that case against abusive federal agencies is almost within reach.

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