Jul 18, 2014

Acting Commissioner Promises To Address EEO Problems

     From the Baltimore Sun:

The Social Security Administration is overhauling its internal anti-discrimination program after federal auditors found that the agency failed to establish an adequate system for handling employee claims.
Auditors from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported in May that the Woodlawn-based agency had failed to follow regulations on addressing workplace discrimination complaints, had manipulated data to boost case completion rates and might have allowed managers to interfere in what were supposed to be impartial investigations. Of 2,292 claims processed over a four-year period, not one resulted in a finding of discrimination, they reported.
The agency, which employs 60,000 workers nationwide and 11,000 in Maryland, told The Baltimore Sun on Thursday that acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin had ordered an action plan to transform its Equal Employment Opportunity program into a "model program." ...
Commission auditors found that top managers of the agency's Equal Employment Opportunity program had worked previously in the general counsel's office, which defends the agency against discrimination claims.
"We find that a majority of ... employees interviewed expressed concerns about the general counsel's office's involvement during the EEO investigation process and perceived the involvement as a conflict of interest," they wrote. "We continue to note that the investigative process is a non-adversarial fact-finding process."

Auditors also suggested that Social Security managers reviewed and made changes to affidavits by employees in the early stages of investigations. The EEOC said it reviewed testimony that appeared to have changed between the time it was initially given by an employees and then signed.  ...
Employees interviewed by auditors said the agency sometimes attempted to make those rates look better than they actually were. "Several ... employees stated that when the report of investigation is untimely, some ... managers move the case file to the next fiscal year to look timely, and that they manipulate the data in the ... tracking system," the auditors wrote. ...

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