The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today held an unprecedented public meeting at which academics, representatives of the civil rights, business and federal sector communities, as well as former EEOC leaders and current employees presented their views about the agency’s proposed Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

The Strategic Enforcement Plan grew out of the agency’s Strategic Plan (Plan) adopted at a Commission meeting on February 22, 2012, governing fiscal years 2012-2016.  That Plan set forth three underlying values that will guide the work of the EEOC: commitment to justice, accountability, and integrity; and three strategic objectives: strategic law enforcement, education and outreach, and efficiently serving the public. One requirement of the Strategic Plan was to develop the SEP and have it in place by the start of fiscal year 2013—October 1, 2012.

Central themes brought up by the various stakeholders included:

  • What the agency’s priorities should be and how many priorities there should be to remain effective.
  • The issue of increased centralized control vs. maintaining local authority over investigations and litigation.
  • The need for consistent practices and procedures across field offices.
  • The need for more resources to enhance efficient charge processing.
  • New outreach and education initiatives, including outreach to “vulnerable populations” such as immigrant and low-wage workers, and greater use of social media.

Participants in the roundtable focusing on the EEOC’s federal sector program included representatives from other agencies, unions representing federal employees, and federal employee affinity groups.  They noted, among other issues, the need to clarify the role of agency counsel in the investigative stage of proceedings, the need for increased oversight of federal agency enforcement, the need for training for managers on supervision as well as EEO, and for employees on navigating the complaints process.

The Commission will consider all of the input—both written and from the meeting—in crafting its SEP.  That document will be posted on the Commission’s website when finalized.  Additionally, the comments that were submitted will be available for onsite review in the EEOC’s library.