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AFFIRMATIVE EMPLOYMENT & EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY (AE/EEO) PROGRAM
BLACKS IN GOVERNMENT AE/EEO PROGRAM
National Blacks In Government (BIG) Affirmative Employment/EEO program develops programs to address areas of concern of Black government employees including rates of hiring and firing; promotions; training; details; distribution of authority and responsibility; adverse actions; awards; merit pay; and disciplinary actions. Also, in line with BIG’s strategic plan, one of BIG’s AE/EEO program goals is to eliminate practices of racism and racial discrimination against Blacks In Government. In re-energizing BIG’s AE/EEO program, we are establishing a process to assist (1) individuals seeking relief from discrimination in the workplace and (2) groups of employees within specific agencies who are experiencing discrimination in the workplace. Both processes will provide documentary evidence of adverse impact and disparate treatment which will enhance BIG’s meeting with agency management officials to point out practices of racism and racial discrimination against Blacks (and other minorities) in government and offer solutions to eliminate unfair practices as stated in our strategic plan. In addition, BIG members will be trained as Complaint Advisors to provide advice and assistance to government employees. The Complaint Advisors will support the entire AE/EEO program. The initial focus areas are discussed in the following sections.
I. INDIVIDUAL DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE
Individuals seeking relief from discrimination in the workplace (see figure 1), please read the following very carefully:
Discrimination, for the purpose of employment law, is any workplace action such as hiring/firing, demoting, and promoting based on a prejudice of some kind that results in the unfair treatment of employees. Many states also have laws prohibiting discrimination and may be even stricter than federal laws.
The process Blacks In Government is using to address individual complaints is through the chapters and regions. Please note that BIG members who want to maintain as much anonymity as possible, can request assistance directly to the National AE/EEO Chair. The Chair will provide advice or assistance or will refer to a BIG Trained EO Complaints Advisor.
Mastering HR: Discrimination
The following federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination are among the most important:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm Title VII prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Title VII applies to all private employers, state and local governments, and education institutions that employ more than 15 individuals.
Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
This law essentially applies the standards of Title VII to the federal government as an employer.
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
The Fair Pay Act changes when the statute of limitations begins for workers’ claims of pay discrimination under Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to declare that an unlawful employment practice occurs not only when a discriminatory pay decision or practice is adopted, but also when the employee becomes subject to the decision or practice, as well as each additional application of that decision or practice, as well as each additional application of that decision or practice. In other words, each time compensation is paid.
Equal Pay Act.
The EPA prohibits sex-based pay discrimination between men and women who perform under similar working conditions. The EPA applies to all employees covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Pregnancy Discrimination Act (FMLA).
The FMLA prohibits discrimination against pregnant women and parents as well as employees with serious health conditions. In 2008, two new types of FMLA leave were created which gives job-protected leave for family of members of the armed services.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
The ADEA prohibits discrimination against employees age 40 or older. The ADEA covers private employers with 20 or more employees, state and local governments (including school districts), employment agencies and labor organizations.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA).
The ADA and ADAAA prohibits discrimination against qualified employees or job applicants with a disability because of the disability, association with someone with a disability, or because the employer sees an employee as disabled, even if he/she actually is not. The ADA and ADAAA applies to the same list of employers of Title VII.
Nineteenth Century Civil Rights Act.
This act, amended in 1993, ensures that all people equal rights under the law and outlines the damages available under the Civil Right Act of 1964, Title VII, the ADA, and the 1973 Rehabilitation Act.
Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA).
The federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008 prohibits employers, employment agencies, and labor unions from discriminating against employees based on genetic information. It also prohibits insurers from charging higher premiums based on genetic information, or from using genetic information in underwriting decisions.
In addition to federal laws, many states have laws similar to the ones above prohibiting discrimination, and some include even more protected categories than the federal laws cover.
State-by-state comparison of 50 laws in all 50 states including discrimination laws.
Sexual orientation discrimination.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a proposed federal law that would prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. Sexual orientation discrimination currently is not explicitly prohibited under federal law. Certain states have enacted discrimination laws that apply to homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual individuals. In some states, sexual orientation discrimination if prohibited only in certain municipalities. There have also been attempts to provide discrimination protections through court cases interpreting existing sex discrimination laws.
HR Guide to Employment LAW:
A practical compliance reference manual covering 14 topics, including discrimination.
II. RACISM AND DISPARATE TREATMENT FORUM (R&DTF)
Purpose: Racism and Disparate Treatment Forums objectives are to 1) allow members to discuss charges of adverse, disparate and inappropriate treatment toward them as minorities in the workplace, 2) provide documentary evidence of adverse impact and disparate treatment in the workplace, and 3) allow BIG to work with agencies to develop strategies and plans to address issues and concerns of minority employees.
a) Hearing request (please see figure 2) is initiated by the employees of a work unit; usually referencing an unusual amount of alleged discrimination charges in a specific workplace.
b) A Discrimination Complaint Form request must be completed by the chapter AE/EEO and submitted to the regional council AE/EEO for review.
c) If approved, the hearing request will be further reviewed by the National Chair AE/EEO and sent to the National President for final review.
d) If approved by the National President, notification of approval will be sent to the region, and the selection of a forum hearing date will be announced. Selection of the hearing date and location of the event and invitations extended to affected parties from every side of the issue.
e) Hold R&DTF hearing and receiving testimony; accepting testimony both verbal and written.
f) Completion of hearing R&DTF draft report: recorded and written testimony from the hearing converted into a verbatim report and detailed, researched analysis conducted on all hearing documents, including hard copy and supplementation documentation.
g) Meeting with agency officials; requesting a meeting with responsible officials for the purpose of obtaining agreements on recommendations and remedies.
III. COMPLAINT ADVISORS TRAINING
The AE/EEO Chair will facilitate training of BIG members in all 11 regions as Complaint Advisors. These individuals will be trained to assist members with their individual complaints of discrimination. Complaint Advisors do not represent the employees. This training will be offered as on-line webinar training. The Program and Planning Chair will assist the AE/EEO Chair in designing, developing and implementing this training similar to the Online Officer Leadership Training.