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The Washington Post’s Steve Vogel looks at troubles at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency that enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws, investigates employee discrimination complaints and files lawsuits on behalf of employees. During the Bush administration, EEOC staff was cut from 2,850 employees to 2,192. That, unfortunately, doesn’t come as much as a shock given the administration cut spending about every agency save the Pentagon.

Less predictable is that EEOC had to deal with 26 percent more charges of job bias in 2008 than 2006 (there were a total of 95,400 cases in 2008). What that means is huge backlog — 73,000 cases have never been dealt with and cases that are handled take over six months to process. For employees filing charges with EEOC, that increases the chance they may face continued discrimination — and that they may face retaliation for filing a complaint in the first place.

Another problem is that the agency has moved to northeast D.C. where there will be sharing office space with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. As someone who has spent some time in that area, I can vouch that while it’s not Siberia, I can see how already low employee morale might be further depressed: there’s nothing there restaurant or retail wise and it certainly contributes to the idea that EEOC is a peripheral agency. Most importantly, the security required by ATF will make EEOC less accessible for workers who wish to visit the agency.

It’s mind-boggling how many agencies the Obama administration ought to reform.-MB

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