[Senate Hearing 110-]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



 
  COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS FOR 
                            FISCAL YEAR 2008

                              ----------                              


                         THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2007

                                       U.S. Senate,
           Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations,
                                                    Washington, DC.
    The subcommittee met at 10:03 a.m., in room SD-192, Dirksen 
Senate Office Building, Hon. Barbara A. Mikulski (chairman) 
presiding.
    Present: Senators Mikulski, Shelby, and Alexander.

                EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION

STATEMENT OF NAOMI CHURCHILL EARP, CHAIR

                STATEMENT OF SENATOR BARBARA A. MIKULSKI

    Senator Mikulski. Good morning. The Subcommittee on 
Commerce, Justice, Science of the Appropriations Committee will 
come to order. As we said in the beginning of the year, our 
themes are innovation, security, and accountability.
    This morning, this subcommittee will focus on an agency who 
has one of probably the most important missions within the 
Government in addition to security, which is the enforcement of 
our laws against employment discrimination. This hearing will 
be an oversight hearing as related to what is needed to be sure 
the agency is able to fulfill its mission.
    I would have never dreamed many years ago that I would be 
able to be here as the appropriator for the Equal Employment 
Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It would have been a dream well 
beyond my wildest imagination. Over 40 years ago, I was a young 
social worker who had heard the call of a gifted President 
named Jack Kennedy asking not what you can do for your country 
but what your country can do for you, and responded to that 
call by fighting the war on poverty and being very active in my 
own community in the area of civil rights.
    Baltimore was a tough town. It had a northern economy but a 
southern social structure. It was a segregated town and as part 
of great leadership, the home of where the NAACP is 
headquartered, the home that gave us Thurgood Marshall, the 
Mitchell family, like Juanita and of course, Mr. Mitchell, the 
101st Senator himself. We did marches and we sang, but we knew 
that marches and singing didn't always open the doors. They 
were to get the attention to open the doors.
    So when this Government created the Equal Employment 
Opportunity Commission, we thought it would be a one-stop shop 
that people within this country could turn to redress any 
grievance they had if doors were being slammed against them. 
That's what the job of the EEOC Commission is, to make sure 
that doors of employment are never ever slammed shut, that by 
vigorously enforcing the discrimination laws on race, religion, 
gender, and national origin, we would show that America 
believed that we are truly all created equal.
    But we are very concerned about what's happened over at the 
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the years. It 
seems not to have been able to fulfill its mission and we are 
concerned about three issues: management, morale, and money. Is 
it the lack of resources that are creating the problem? But by 
any index of objective analysis, it seems that the EEOC really 
has problems and is in disarray.
    We are very concerned about the fact that over years, 
management has been inconsistent and imperial. Madam Chair, we 
understand you've been on the job for 6 months, so we're 
looking for recommendations and results and how that might be 
tied to resources. If it's not resource-driven but leadership 
driven, then I want to hear what your vision is because we're 
very concerned about how we can fix it so that people can have 
confidence in the process. We believe that we are a Nation of 
law, that our law guarantees equal opportunity in employment 
and that we have an agency that you can turn to if you feel 
that you have discriminated against.
    But we're concerned. Last year, EEOC received 76,000 
complaints that needed to be investigated on top of a backlog--
the 34,000 backlog cases from the year before. Backlogs are an 
obsession with us because where there is a backlog, there is 
really a question of being able to enforce the laws. We're 
concerned that backlogs are on the rise and that the issues are 
not being addressed.
    Despite rising complaints and increased backlogs, EEOC has 
downsized its agency, contracted out to a customer service call 
center, which had very few people and seemed to have very 
little training. So we're going to want to ask about this call 
center. When you call, do you get an answer? Or are you put on 
hold and with the backlog, there's another hold you're put on?
    What we want to be able to do today is focus on two things: 
oversight and accountability and how that leads to advocacy. My 
duty as an appropriator is to make sure that American taxpayer 
dollars are used responsibly but at the same time, that 
accomplishes mission and purpose. So we've been concerned and 
I'll be blunt, Ms. Earp, we know you've had this job 6 months 
so when you hear our frustration, it's not targeted at you 
personally, so we want you to know that. We know that front 
line staff has been cut. We know that work has been privatized 
without really ensuring quality and oversight.
    The district offices were reduced from 23 to 15 but what is 
the rationale? We know that there has been a reduction in 
attorneys. Was this about money? Was this about poor 
management? And it's had a terrible effect on morale. The 
agency has been reduced by 575. Has this been downsizing and 
downgrading? Or it is right sizing? We need to know and we know 
that there hasn't been a look at the agency in a number of 
years and that's why we want to start this ball rolling.
    As I said, we're advocates here, of civil rights. These men 
represent the New South. They were generationally parallel. We 
came out of a lot of turmoil and a lot of tumult but committed 
in our lives and our public service to do that. Senator Shelby, 
a champion on these issues. Senator Alexander, a Governor, a 
Secretary of Education, now fighting also to make sure that 
education is one of the key tools of an empowerment agenda and 
the greatest equal opportunity is the right to an equal 
education and to a good education.
    So we're champions here of civil rights and this is why we 
want this agency, under our stewardship, to be one of the best 
in our portfolio. So we want to hear from you today on how to 
do it. You know, we've been through restructuring plans. We 
don't know what that meant. We saw that positions were reduced, 
as I said, from 23 to 15. Was that a good idea? It seemed that 
from what we heard from the civil rights community was that it 
was not a good idea.
    With the call center, we understand that it was contracted 
out. They only get 7 days of training on civil rights law, that 
you're not getting the calls that you expected and there seems 
to be a tremendous lack of communication between the EEOC and 
the call center.
    Then, in my own State, there was the closing of a district 
office, which was the hallmark of fairness in hearing 
complaints for Federal employees. There are 117,000 Federal 
employees in the State, and not because we're a big 
bureaucracy. We're the home to the National Institutes of 
Health--13,000 people. We're the home to the Census Bureau--
4,000 people. We are the home to so many other Federal 
agencies--yes, as well as our defense, which has its own track.
    So you see, what we want to do is we--we can talk about 
downsizing and right sizing but what we want to talk about is 
the right track. We are committed to the mission and goals that 
were established for the EEOC. So we want to take a look at the 
management issues, the morale issues and the money issues and 
we look forward to hearing your recommendations because we are 
results driven but know, just as there has been a backlog, 
there is also a backlog of frustration.
    But I'm going to be clear. It is not at you personally. 
Senator Shelby.

                 STATEMENT OF SENATOR RICHARD C. SHELBY

    Senator Shelby. Thank you, Senator, Chairman Mikulski, 
Madam Chairman. We thank you for joining us here today to 
discuss this. The chairman has already said the Equal 
Employment Opportunity Commission 2008 budget request.
    The EEOC has an important mission as it provides assistance 
to those who have faced discrimination in the workplace. This 
is accomplished through investigations, mediation, legal action 
and by providing education to businesses. The EEOC request for 
2008 is $327.7 million, which is approximately a $1 million 
decrease below the 2007 joint resolution funding level.
    I know that Chairman Mikulski has serious concerns 
regarding the EEOC's performance, particularly with the 
Commission's direction and disregard for congressional 
oversight. I agree with her and know that you are new to your 
chairmanship and inherited many of the problems from your 
predecessor. I believe this has had an immeasurable impact on 
the EEOC's ability to carry out its mission.
    It's come to my attention that the EEOC has decided to cut 
a large amount of its allocation from the State and local 
sector. I'm curious as to why this route has been taken because 
the local offices, I believe, are vital to the mission of EEOC. 
I have heard of the great accomplishments of the new Mobile 
office in my State, especially given its large jurisdiction 
covering the gulf coast regions of Mississippi, Alabama, and 
the Florida Panhandle. I want to work with you to ensure that 
the State and local offices get the support that they need to 
do their job.
    Based on my review of your request, combined with the 
likely fiscal constraints of this subcommittee, we will need 
your assistance, Madam Chairman, as we face tough funding 
decisions regarding the allocation of resources in your budget. 
This subcommittee and the Commission share the difficult task 
of targeting these limited resources in a manner that 
safeguards taxpayers' dollars while enabling the mission of 
EEOC to be carried forward.
    Madam Chairman, we look forward to your testimony and we 
look forward to working with you during the 2008 budget process 
to ensure that you have, as the chairman, have the necessary 
resources to carry out the wide and varied missions of the 
EEOC. I look forward to working with you and Chairman Mikulski 
and Senator Alexander and others to make sure that you have the 
requisite funding and we hope and I believe you will go in the 
right direction. Thank you.
    Senator Mikulski. Thank you very much. Senator Alexander, 
did you wish to make a comment?
    Senator Alexander. No thank you, Madam Chairman. I have 
some questions but I'll save them for later.
    Senator Mikulski. Thank you. Ms. Earp, please proceed.

                    SUMMARY STATEMENT OF NAOMI EARP

    Ms. Earp. Thank you. Good morning, Madam Chair, members of 
the subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me to testify today on 
behalf of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 
support of the President's 2008 budget request for $327.7 
million.
    As you've already indicated, I became the 13th Chair of the 
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just this last fall. It 
is a distinct pleasure to appear before you to discuss the 
needs of EEOC for fiscal year 2008 as represented in the 
President's budget. I want to thank you, Madam Chair, for your 
past support and thank the members of the subcommittee for its 
support and your anticipated future support.
    EEOC's vision is for a strong and prosperous Nation secure 
through fair and inclusive workplaces. We strive to ensure 
equality of opportunity in the workplace by enforcing the 
Federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. We seek to 
maintain the Commission's reach by continuing proactive 
measures to prevent discrimination while resolving claims and 
strategically focusing our enforcement and litigation programs.
    I've submitted for the record, a statement that highlights 
aspects of our budget but I want to spend just a few minutes 
touching on some of the points that are in the written 
statement.
    First of all, our budget request includes $160.3 million 
for administrative charge processing. In fiscal year 2006, the 
EEOC received almost 76,000 private sector charges. This was a 
slight increase over 2005. We resolved just over 74,000 private 
sector resolutions and recovered $229.8 million in monetary 
benefits for victims of discrimination. We ended the fiscal 
year with a charge inventory of almost 40,000 charges. We 
acknowledge that our charge----
    Senator Mikulski. Excuse me. Does charge inventory mean 
backlog?
    Ms. Earp. Essentially.
    Senator Mikulski. Okay.
    Ms. Earp. We acknowledge that the inventory is growing. 
EEOC also has responsibility for hearings and appeals of 
complaints filed by Federal employees. We received over 14,000 
requests for hearings or appeals from Federal sector employees. 
Our budget request includes $47.5 million for Federal sector 
programs.
    The litigation program is an important part of overall 
enforcement. During 2006, our litigation program filed 371 new 
lawsuits on the merits and resolved 418, resulting in monetary 
benefits of $44.3 million. The 2008 budget request includes 
almost $3 million in direct support of the litigation program.
    That would bring our total litigation budget to just a 
little under $57 million.
    A strong litigation program provides an incentive for the 
early resolution of charges during the administrative 
enforcement process.
    Regarding mediation, our budget request includes $22.3 
million. In fiscal year 2006, 8,200 charges were resolved 
through mediation. The mediation program is highly successful 
and has been since its inception.
    Madam Chair, you've noted a number of issues that you are 
concerned about but I would like to point out that the 
mediation program is one of the best, most successful efforts 
EEOC currently has underway. An independent survey found that 
96 percent of employers and 91 percent of charging parties 
would use our mediation program again if they were offered it.
    It's clear the best way to combat employment discrimination 
is to prevent it from happening in the first place. We continue 
to meet with advocacy and community groups, employer groups, 
the legal community, students, educational organizations, 
unions and members of the general public. We share with them 
employment trends. We assess needs and we offer advice and 
assistance. In fiscal year 2006, we conducted 5,634 outreach 
events, reaching nearly 300,000 people. Approximately 4 percent 
of the budget is devoted to outreach activities. We're asking 
$12.6 million.
    Regarding the FEPA, Senator Shelby, that you mentioned, I 
would note that we are joined in our enforcement efforts, with 
96 State and local partners generally called the Fair 
Employment Practice Agencies (FEPA). The budget request for 
FEPAs for 2008 is $28 million and I would just note at this 
time that EEOC has no involvement and has had no involvement in 
cutting any amount from the President's budget or otherwise for 
our State and local partners.
    The EEOC, like all agencies today, faces many challenges. 
We are first and foremost an enforcement agency and we must 
provide the quality and integrity of enforcement efforts that 
the public expects and deserves. Approximately 80 percent of 
our budget has been consistently devoted to relatively fixed 
expenses, primarily payroll and rent. An additional 9 to 10 
percent is dedicated to our partners in the State and local 
fair employment practice agencies. The fixed costs of EEOC 
leave us with little discretion in terms of shifting resources 
to be able to respond to emerging or pressing needs. We 
constantly look for ways to maximize the return on resources 
and we look for better ways to align those resources with the 
mission.
    In August 2002, the National Academy of Public 
Administration (NAPA) conducted a study of our structure and 
our program delivery. In February 2003, the Academy released 
its findings. Most significantly, they recommended that we 
establish a National Contact Center and that we align or 
realign our field offices and that we restructure our 
headquarters. We have acted on the first two of these 
recommendations and we are just beginning work on the third. I 
look forward to working with the subcommittee, getting the 
subcommittee's ideas about reorganizing, restructuring our 
headquarters office.
    I want to make just a couple of points about the National 
Contact Center (NCC). It began operation in March 2005 on a 2-
year pilot basis. It's based in Lawrence, Kansas. The pilot has 
been extended for 1 additional year. While admitting that the 
National Contact Center got off to a rough start, we had some 
things to smooth out. The NCC allows 24-hour access to the 
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It saves our 
investigators and our attorneys from having to answer routine 
calls. Since it began taking calls, the National Contact Center 
has received over 1 million contacts from the public. This 
includes telephone calls, e-mails, faxes.
    Our initial focus was on training, monitoring for quality, 
accuracy and the interpersonal skills of the people who would 
answer the phone for us. As these have developed, we are now 
prioritizing actions to increase call volume and to better 
integrate the National Contact Center with EEOC procedures and 
practices. Results are reflected in the most recently available 
report, which shows that in March of this year, the National 
Contact Center received over 65,000 contacts. At this rate, we 
project that the contact center will handle 700,000 contacts 
for us this year alone.
    A recent report by NAPA found that EEOC is aggressively 
addressing issues and the implementation and follow-up is 
noteworthy regarding the contact center. The NAPA Panel also 
found that the cost of moving the contact center into EEOC 
would substantially exceed the current arrangement and that an 
in-house run EEOC call center would cost about $8 million the 
first year and almost $5 million every year after that.
    Regarding repositioning, I would just simply say, again 
this was a NAPA recommendation that we believe is a good idea 
as we seek to realign our resources with our organizational 
structure. While we are concerned about the rising inventory 
and our ability to timely investigate charges and provide 
efficient customer service, we are confident that strides are 
being made, that improvements are underway and that we can 
manage within the budget the President requests for 2008.

                           PREPARED STATEMENT

    In conclusion, Madam Chair, the EEOC cannot fight 
discrimination in the 21st century with the same methods that 
we've used in the past and we thank you for your support.
    [The statement follows:]

               Prepared Statement of Naomi Churchill Earp

    Good morning Madam Chair and Members of the Subcommittee. Thank you 
for inviting me to testify today on behalf of the Equal Employment 
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in support of the President's fiscal year 
2008 budget request of $327.7 million. As you may know I became the 
thirteenth Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 
September 2006. It is a distinct pleasure to appear before you to 
discuss the needs of the EEOC for fiscal year 2008 as represented in 
the President's request. I want to thank you for your past and 
anticipated future support of the EEOC.
    Our vision is for a strong and prosperous nation secured through 
fair and inclusive workplaces. We strive to ensure equality of 
opportunity in the workplace by enforcing the federal laws prohibiting 
employment discrimination. Our newly implemented strategic plan builds 
upon what the agency has accomplished to improve its operations. It 
seeks to maintain the Commission's reach by continuing proactive 
measures to prevent discrimination; resolving claims of discrimination 
more proficiently; continuing alternative dispute resolution; 
developing a more strategic focus in our enforcement, litigation and 
federal programs; and renewing a strategy to eradicate race and color 
discrimination while maintaining our internal operations.

                 EEOC'S FISCAL YEAR 2008 BUDGET REQUEST

    EEOC's fiscal year 2008 budget request is for $327,748,000. Let me 
highlight some components of our budget, approval of which will be 
essential to meet the demands inherent to the fulfillment of our 
mission in the 21st century. I am also submitting for the record a copy 
of EEOC's Fiscal Year 2006 Performance and Accountability Report. The 
report provides in greater detail the successes of our performance and 
activities for the past year.
    Staffing and Enforcement Workload.--Our budget request includes 
$160.3 million for administrative charge processing. Our employees are 
passionate about, and dedicated to, their work and produce a 
substantial body of work. In fiscal year 2006 the EEOC received 75,768 
private sector charges, a slight increase over 2005. We had 74,308 
private sector resolutions and recovered $229.8 million in monetary 
benefits that went directly to the victims of discrimination.
    In fiscal year 2006 our average processing time per private sector 
charge was 193 days, a 12 percent increase over our 171 day average in 
fiscal year 2005. Our end of year inventory of private sector charges 
was 39,946, a 19 percent increase over our fiscal year 2005 inventory. 
We project an inventory of in excess of 54,000 by the end of fiscal 
year 2007 and in excess of 67,000 by the end fiscal year 2008. We will 
address this issue of rising average processing times within existing 
resources, using an FTE level of 2,381, the same as fiscal year 2007 
and an increase over our staff level at the end of fiscal year 2006. As 
we staff up to our budgeted levels, we expect an increase in charge 
processing (and, by extension, progress in our inventory).
    EEOC also has responsibility for hearings and appeals of complaints 
filed by federal employees. Our hearings data shows that we received 
7,802 hearing requests, had 8,685 resolutions, ended the year with an 
inventory of 4,912 and had an average processing time of 248 days. In 
the area of federal sector appeals, we received 6,743 appeals, resolved 
6,405, and ended the year with an inventory of 3,887. The average 
processing time was 220 days for fiscal year 2006--a 13 percent 
increase from the previous year. Our federal sector appeals data 
reflects increases in inventory and average processing time and a drop 
in resolutions.
    Litigation.--Our litigation program is an important part of our 
overall enforcement of the law. During fiscal year 2006, our litigation 
program filed 371 new lawsuits on the merits and resolved 418, 
resulting in monetary benefits of $44.3 million. We seek to maximize 
the impact of our lawsuits through various means, including obtaining 
relief for multiple aggrieved individuals and securing broad-based, 
prospective relief to prevent the recurrence of discrimination. A 
strong litigation program also provides an incentive for the early 
resolution of a charge during the agency's administrative enforcement 
process in the pre-cause determination and mediation process and in the 
conciliation process. We also believe that publicity of high impact 
litigation and other cases serves to increase voluntary compliance with 
the laws we enforce.
    The EEOC's fiscal year 2008 budget request includes $2.9 million in 
direct support to our litigation program, with a total litigation 
budget of just under $57 million. We project a slight decrease in our 
suit filings for fiscal year 2008, but the demands on our staff and our 
resources are expected to increase. This is because we expect to devote 
some of the requested funding to litigating larger and more complex 
cases involving systemic discrimination developed through the 
Commission's new Systemic Program. While these cases are resource-
intensive to litigate, they have great potential to pay enormous 
dividends in the long run.
    Systemic Program.--Last April, the Commission considered the 
recommendations of our Systemic Taskforce which was led by Vice Chair 
Leslie Silverman. The Commission unanimously passed a series of motions 
calling for the Commission to reinvigorate its Systemic efforts. 
Systemic cases are defined as ``pattern or practice, policy and/or 
class cases where the alleged discrimination has a broad impact on an 
industry, profession, company, or geographic location.'' Since the 
passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as with 
later amendments and authority granted, Congress recognized that 
employment discrimination cannot be eradicated without a focus on its 
systemic nature. A strong systemic program is crucial to the 
elimination of instances of pattern or practice, policy and class 
discrimination which has a broad impact on an industry, profession, 
company or geographic location.
    Therefore, to complement private sector enforcement of Title VII, 
the ADEA, the EPA and the ADA, the Commission has embarked upon an 
enhanced systemic enforcement program. Systemic plans from all District 
Offices were approved in December 2006. Commissioner charges based on 
those plans have been submitted and signed by Commissioners. While 
Systemic cases often take two or three years in order to investigate 
and develop evidence to decide whether to proceed, I expect some of our 
cases to be developed and resolved through settlement, conciliation or 
a litigation filing within a year.
    ADR/Mediation.--Our budget request includes $22.3 million for 
mediation. In fiscal year 2006 we increased the number of our mediation 
resolutions to 8,202. Since its inception, EEOC's mediation program has 
been highly successful in resolving charges of employment 
discrimination. In addition to the record number of resolutions 
obtained through the mediation process in fiscal year 2006, a survey 
conducted by independent researchers to evaluate the program's 
effectiveness found that 96 percent of employers and 91 percent of 
charging parties that participated in the mediation process would use 
the mediation program again if offered. The Commission continues to 
conduct extensive outreach and publicity efforts to highlight the 
benefits of EEOC's mediation program and to expand charging party and 
respondent participation. Additionally, as a result of significant 
efforts focused on increasing the participation of employers in the 
mediation program, the agency continues to utilize Universal Agreements 
to Mediate (UAMs) to secure employer support for the program. These 
agreements now number over 1,100.
    Outreach.--We also employ other strategies by which we address 
discrimination in the workplace. The best way to combat employment 
discrimination is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The 
Commission continues to work closely with its stakeholders to implement 
new strategies to stop discrimination before it starts. We are striking 
a vital balance between outreach and education on one hand, and 
enforcement and litigation on the other. We meet with advocacy and 
community groups, employer groups, the legal community, students and 
educational organizations, labor unions and the general public to 
assess current needs, and employment trends and issues. In recent 
years, EEOC staff also has increased our number of media presentations, 
including appearances on radio and television programs in languages 
other than English, providing information to uncounted thousands of 
people. The Commission recognizes the importance of outreach, 
education, and technical assistance to reach out to under-served 
constituents and to aid in voluntary compliance. In fiscal year 2006, 
EEOC conducted 5,634 outreach events, reaching nearly 302,000 people. 
Events included speeches, seminars, workshops, training programs, 
expanded presence visits, cultural expositions, conferences, and 
community group meetings. Approximately 4 percent of our budget 
request, or $12.6 million is allocated to outreach.
    Federal Sector.--The Commission fulfills its mandate to federal 
employees and applicants for employment through our hearings and 
appellate enforcement efforts, as well by exercising our oversight 
authority and providing guidance, outreach and technical assistance. 
Our budget request includes $47.5 million for our federal sector 
programs.
    The Federal Sector complaint process is one area by which 
stakeholders agree that improvements need to be made. We believe that 
the complaint process takes too long. By statute, federal agencies 
initially are responsible for investigating charges filed against them. 
Both Commissioners Stuart Ishimaru and Christine Griffin have been 
working on recommendations for improvement to the complaint process, 
and particularly on the agency investigative process. We have made 
advances in the processes under EEOC's direct control. For example, the 
inventory of requests for a hearing sharply declined from 5,994 in 
fiscal year 2005 to 4,912 in fiscal year 2006. Additionally, the 
average processing time from request to the conclusion of the hearing 
declined slightly last year. These are welcome developments. Both 
appeals inventory and average processing time have shown significant 
decline since 2001-2002, but both showed increases in fiscal year 2006.
    In addition, we continue to provide training, outreach, and 
technical assistance to federal agencies in the implementation of our 
Management Directive 715 to aid agencies in their efforts to build 
model EEO programs.
    Fair Employment Practices Agencies.--We are joined by our 96 State 
and Local partners, Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs), in our 
vital enforcement role. Our budget request calls for an amount for 
state and local contracts up to $28 million. Additionally, we continue 
to support the 64 Tribal Employment Rights Organizations (TEROs), 
providing outreach and training to address the specific equal 
employment issues facing the Native American community. During fiscal 
year 2006, we successfully transitioned our State and local government 
FEPA partners to the new Integrated Mission System (IMS), allowing EEOC 
to retire the old legacy Charge Data System. This migration will 
provide consistent data management and reporting across EEOC and FEPA 
offices nationwide. In response to recommendations from the State and 
Local Re-engineering Workgroup, during fiscal year 2006 we began a 
comprehensive national training initiative for FEPA staff. This effort 
will continue into fiscal year 2007.
    Information Technology.--Over the past several years, EEOC has 
completed several major information technology (IT) projects that have 
streamlined internal processes, reduced paperwork burden, integrated 
data, advanced our technological infrastructure, and allowed the agency 
to conduct business more efficiently. The EEOC is taking a fresh look 
at our Information Technology (IT) architecture and services in an 
effort to improve operational efficiency, lower recurring costs, 
increase customer satisfaction, and ensure that IT services are 
properly aligned with agency priorities and strategic plans. Our 
overall goal is more efficient usage of the resources that EEOC expends 
to maintain our IT infrastructure, while realigning our architecture to 
better support an environment that promotes collaboration, information 
sharing and analysis, enhanced communications, and streamlined work 
processes.
    During fiscal year 2007, we are integrating our EEO-1 and IMS 
systems, to provide improved analysis capabilities and data integrity. 
We have also expanded usage of video conferencing and video-streaming, 
using this technology to conduct depositions and external hearings, 
provide remote interpretive services, conduct remote training sessions, 
and improve collaboration/communication across our multiple office 
locations. In addition, I have already discussed our systemic program, 
and several initiatives are underway to ensure that EEOC's technology 
infrastructure supports a seamless, nationwide, systemic practice.
    During fiscal year 2008, we will maintain our critical technology 
infrastructure but will not undertake new projects or expand current 
services. Our ability to move forward on other major technology 
initiatives, such as document management and data warehousing will be 
largely dependent on future funding. EEOC is currently conducting 
studies and developing business cases to support requests in these 
areas.
    Initiatives.--It is critical not only that we manage our inventory, 
but that we spread the word that preventing discrimination benefits 
everyone. Some of our outreach is conducted through several targeted 
ongoing initiatives. These initiatives have no separate funding 
component and are performed by all of our professional staff and 
included in our overall outreach, education and technical assistance 
budget.
    In support of the President's New Freedom Initiative, we will 
continue to work with state governments on strategies for removing 
employment barriers and to promote the employment of people with 
disabilities. Our [email protected] Initiative empowers youth to understand 
their workplace rights and responsibilities and encourages employers to 
promote fair and inclusive workplaces. Our Small and Mid-size Business 
Initiative expands outreach and technical assistance to the small 
business community to encourage voluntary compliance. Our newest 
initiative--ERACE, Eradicating Racism and Colorism in Employment--
addresses the persistence of race and color discrimination in the 
workplace through outreach, dialogue, and the pursuit of priority and 
emerging legal issues. In addition, in fiscal year 2005, we inaugurated 
the agency's first-ever Freedom to Compete Award program to recognize 
best practices in the private sector, public sector, associations and 
other organizations. In the federal sector we have begun our LEAD 
initiative (Leadership in the Employment of Americans with 
Disabilities) to address the lack of improvement in the federal 
government's employment of people with targeted disabilities.

               NATIONAL CONTACT CENTER AND REPOSITIONING

    The EEOC, like all federal agencies today, faces many challenges. 
We are first and foremost an enforcement agency and we must provide the 
quality and integrity in our enforcement efforts that the public 
expects and deserves. As such, we strive to manage our resources to 
most effectively and efficiently fulfill our enforcement mandate.
    Approximately 80 percent of the EEOC's budget has been consistently 
devoted to relatively fixed expenses, primarily payroll and rent. An 
additional 9-10 percent has been dedicated to our partners in state and 
local Fair Employment Practices Agencies. Therefore, our fixed costs of 
approximately 90 percent of the agency budget leave us with little 
discretion in terms of shifting additional resources to respond to 
pressing needs. We continue to look for ways to maximize the return on 
our resources.
    In August 2002 we commissioned the National Academy of Public 
Administration (NAPA) to conduct a study of our structure and program 
delivery systems. In February 2003, the Academy released its findings 
and recommendations. The Academy Panel made a series of 
recommendations, most significantly recommending that: (1) we establish 
a National Contact Center (NCC) as a way to improve the quality, 
timeliness, access, and consistency of services to EEOC's customers and 
(2) that we realign our field offices flattening the field's management 
staffing levels, and (3) that we reorganize our headquarters. We have 
acted on the first two recommendations and have begun work on the 
third.
    National Contact Center.--After the Commission approved the 
contract to establish the National Contact Center (NCC) in September 
2004, it became operational in March 2005 on a two-year pilot basis and 
was extended by the Commission for one additional year in July 2006. 
The NCC operates under a contract to Vangent, Inc., from a facility in 
Lawrence, Kansas. For fiscal year 2008, $2.5 million is included in our 
budget for the operation of the NCC. The NCC allows 24 hour access to 
the EEOC and the ability to speak with a live person 12 hours a day, 
five days a week. Since it began taking calls on March 21, 2005, the 
NCC has received more than 960,000 phone calls, nearly 48,000 emails, 
and more than 2,500 faxes and letters from the public. The NCC's 
Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) have handled more than 600,000 
calls in English, Spanish and through the TTY. In fiscal year 2006, the 
first full year of operation, the NCC handled over 500,000 contacts, 
including 284,000 calls answered by CSRs. We expect the contacts 
handled by the NCC to increase by 100 percent in 2007. The remainder 
were handled via Interactive Voice Response (IVR), e-mail, fax, or 
written correspondence. Initial focus was on training, monitoring for 
quality, accuracy, and interpersonal skills. As these have been 
developed, we are now prioritizing actions to increase call volume and 
integrate NCC and EEOC procedures and practices.
    In 2006 the NCC was reviewed by EEOC's Inspector General. The IG's 
report made a number of recommendations that needed to be implemented 
if the NCC was to be a more effective and integrated component of the 
EEOC. Many steps have been taken to implement those recommendations. 
Among the recommendations was the need to increase the call volume to 
meet prior projections. Actions have been taken to increase call volume 
since the beginning of fiscal year 2007. The result is reflected in the 
most recently available monthly report which shows that in March 2007 
the NCC received approximately 65,174 contacts, including calls and 
emails, which projects to almost 800,000 contacts per years. A recent 
(January 2007) report by the National Academy for Public Administration 
found that EEOC has begun to aggressively address shortcomings in the 
NCC's implementation and follow-up and that progress has been 
noteworthy. The NAPA panel also found that the cost of moving the call 
center into EEOC would substantially exceed the current arrangement, 
and that an in-house EEOC-run NCC--staffed with EEOC employees--would 
cost $8 million for the first year and $5.7 million annually 
thereafter. Given the cost to bring the NCC in-house and the fact that 
many improvement-plan initiatives still are being implemented, the 
Panel recommended that EEOC maintain the current arrangement until and 
unless a more detailed, comprehensive cost analysis is conducted.
    Through the Center we have compiled data on the race, national 
origin, gender, and age range of callers and can separate the reasons 
people call into various topics. Among our findings, we now know that 
less than 40 percent of the callers are calling about potential 
charges. As of this month, we will be able to run reports on the bases 
and issues that people call about and show trends by region, race, 
national origin, gender, and age. This information will help us to know 
how to more strategically focus our resources. The NCC is a good 
investment--it allows the public greater access to our agency, permits 
us to analyze trends and other data, and frees up EEOC employees to 
focus on investigation, mediation and litigation. Overall, I believe 
both the IG and NAPA assessments have resulted in an improved system 
that will better serve the Commission. The extension of the NCC will be 
the subject of a Commission vote later this year.
    Repositioning.--The Commission also realigned its field 
organization effective January 2006. This reduced the number of our 
districts, reclassified the status of some offices, and allowed us to 
balance the workload within our districts. This was done without 
closing any offices or reducing staff.
    With the implementation of the field repositioning plan and the 
consolidation of 24 district offices into 15 districts, the agency has 
realized the benefits from being able to redirect more staff to the 
front line duties of enforcement and mediation. In preparing the 
repositioning plan, we looked at the resources EEOC was spending on its 
management and administrative positions. The previous EEOC structure 
was put in place in 1979 when the Commission had approximately 3,800 
employees; whereas in 2005 we had approximately 2,400 employees. We did 
not believe it was prudent to retain a management and administrative 
structure that was designed for a much larger workforce and was 
designed when we did not have the advantages of modern technology for 
our business uses. In fact, in 2006 we opened two new offices in Las 
Vegas and Mobile to provide access to the EEOC in growing and 
underserved areas. Beginning in 2003 we initiated a five-year program 
to more appropriately size our field office space as leases expire, 
with a goal of reducing rent costs by 35 percent. The lease on our 
headquarters building expires in 2008 and we are working with our 
landlord, the General Services Administration, to find a location that 
will meet our current space requirements.
    We are now working on the third of NAPA's major recommendations, 
the evaluation and reorganization of our headquarters structure.

                               CONCLUSION

    We will continue to review our operations and infrastructure to 
obtain savings wherever we can so that we are best able to place our 
resources where they are most needed. We have been diligent in our 
efforts to do so and to build a sound financial model. We believe that 
the efficiencies that we have in place will in the long term reap 
benefits; however, we cannot and will not lose sight of our current 
posture and the need to continuously align our resources with our 
mission.
    It is essential that we be fully funded at the President's request, 
so that we can maintain staff and deal with the inventory issue to the 
best of our capability. While we are concerned about our rising 
inventory and its impact on our ability to timely investigate charges 
and provide efficient customer service, we are confident that we can 
reduce the inventory and our charge processing time by more efficiently 
utilizing our existing resources.
    Madam Chair, the EEOC cannot fight discrimination in the 21st 
century with the same methods that have been used in the past. Great 
strides have been made in the past four decades, but there is no rest 
for the EEOC. Approval of our 2008 budget is essential to permit the 
EEOC to continue with its vital mission of ensuring that equality 
exists in the American workplace. The citizens of our Nation deserve no 
less. We must continuously work to effectively allocate our resources 
so as to meet our statutory mandates. Madam Chair, we appreciate your 
support and that of the Subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me to 
appear before you today and I will be happy to answer any questions you 
might have.

    Senator Mikulski. Thank you very much for this testimony. 
We are going to vote. The vote will start in about 15 minutes, 
although it's never as calibrated as we all think. And I 
understand my colleague, Senator Shelby, might not return, to 
be able to return. Senator, what I'm going to suggest as a way 
of proceeding that we turn to you and then----
    Senator Shelby. I'll be quick.
    Senator Mikulski. We want you to do what you need to do 
here and then we'll return and when the vote occurs, we'll 
recess, dash over and come right back.

                            OFFICE CLOSURES

    Senator Shelby. Okay. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I'll just 
get right to some of the issues that I raised. In my opening 
statement, I mentioned that I was concerned about the cut in 
State and local funding. You alluded to that. Your budget 
request reduces funding to the State and local offices--it's my 
understanding--by $2 million from the 2007 budget. Will this 
cut cause any offices to be shut down? I mentioned the Mobile 
office, which covers south Alabama, part of Mississippi and the 
Florida Panhandle. We think that's an important office, not 
because it's located in my State. It could be located in 
Maryland or somewhere else but local offices do augment what 
you're doing.
    Ms. Earp. No, sir. We do not anticipate closing any local 
offices.
    Senator Shelby. Okay. Well, that's good.
    Senator Mikulski. Mr. Chairman, what do you mean by local 
office? Are you talking about a Federal office? What do you 
mean?
    Ms. Earp. Well, definitely we don't plan to close any State 
or local offices under the fair employment practices agencies 
but we have no plans, have never considered closing any of the 
Federal offices either.
    Senator Shelby. That's good to know because I don't--if you 
start closing offices anywhere, I don't believe you can carry 
out the mandate that I know you want to do and have the EEOC to 
do as part of your charter and your responsibilities. That was 
my--that's one of my concerns, funding reductions.
    At the time of the release of your 2008 budget request, 
there were only 2,246. That's a decrease of 978 people, which 
seems like a number over a short period of time, especially 
since the backlog of charges has increased, that you mentioned. 
How are these staffing reductions spread across the agency, 
including field offices? Have you worked that out yet and if 
you haven't, will you let us know what you're doing?
    Ms. Earp. Well, we constantly balance the workload against 
the number of people available to do the work but I would be 
happy to submit to you a more detailed----
    Senator Shelby. To the subcommittee, to all of us.
    Ms. Earp. To the subcommittee.
    Senator Shelby. Sure. If you would do this, that would be 
very helpful from my standpoint. It's my understanding that 
there are 2,381 is the actual number of current employees or is 
this a ceiling for the maximum number you plan to employ? Do 
you want to answer that for the record?
    Ms. Earp. Yes, we plan to hire to our ceiling.
    Senator Shelby. You plan to continue to, under your 
leadership, for the EEOC to meet its responsibilities, do its 
job?
    Ms. Earp. Yes, sir, absolutely.
    Senator Shelby. Okay. Well, we have a lot of confidence in 
you. We know you are new on the job but you bring a lot of 
experience to this job and that's what we're interested in, is 
fairness in the workplace, fairness everywhere.
    Ms. Earp. Thank you.
    Senator Shelby. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
    Senator Mikulski. You were quick. Senator Alexander, will 
you be able to come back or would you like to proceed now as a 
senatorial courtesy?
    Okay. Then let me start the questioning and then we'll come 
back with Senator Alexander and if there is a follow up round. 
We want to acknowledge first of all, that the EEOC has been 
flat funded for 5 years. Five years, with an expanding 
population, expanding stress in terms of a variety of forms of 
discrimination and this flat funding has had to take its toll, 
which is one of the reasons we want to have this oversight 
hearing.
    Remember: management, morale, money. Let me get in--in the 
Congress when we passed the continuing resolution, we were able 
to come up with modest increases, particularly in the area as 
Senator Shelby has said, we increased it in State and local and 
also the private sector enforcement.

                           REPOSITIONING PLAN

    But let me get then to the punch line. Over the last 6 
years, there has been a reduction in full-time employees of 543 
staff. Was that--I'm going to talk about what caused the 
reduction and what are the consequences of the reduction, 
meaning the impact. Was the reduction due to the so-called 
right sizing, you know, all that nice private sector vocabulary 
or was it really budget driven when one looks then at the 
backlog and some of the other issues?
    Ms. Earp. I believe that the reduction is multifaceted. We 
stand in the current position today because like many Federal 
agencies, we have had a number of employees for some time who 
were retirement eligible. That's a factor. We also had early 
outs and voluntary retirements in the last couple of years and 
we've had some natural attrition.
    I think if you take all of those together, compared to the 
rising workload, it just makes sense. Over time, we have become 
a smaller agency like many.
    Senator Mikulski. But here's what I find difficult to 
understand. You have a rising workload, a changing population, 
even geographically, which I know you'll want to discuss with 
the field offices, which would seem to me with the backlog 
coming now of 40,000, don't you need more people?
    Ms. Earp. Well, we believe that we can manage for 2008 
within the President's budget. But I would submit, Madam 
Chairman, that the current situation, which some view as a 
crisis, started a number of years ago in the mid-nineties. In 
2002, EEOC----
    Senator Mikulski. We're not--we understand that. But we're 
right here now, to get it right. So we know that the backlog 
has been growing over a number of years. This is not finger 
pointing at an administration. This is trying to pinpoint where 
we are. We now have a backlog that we expect of 54,000 cases, a 
60-percent increase in 3 years. So let me then get to this. 
What does it take? What are your ideas for dealing with the 
backlog? How will we systematically be able to deal with the 
backlog and what do you need to be able to deal with this 
backlog?
    Ms. Earp. Well, we are doing a number of things to gain 
efficiencies and attempt to manage the workload. We continue to 
reassign staff. One important decision that was made recently 
is to manage the agency as if it were a national model. In the 
past, we've been stovepipes--each district responsible for its 
resources and the management of its cases.
    For example, with legal, we will function like a national 
law firm so that work in one area, we move the people to the 
work. That particular district no longer has to be held hostage 
to the limited resources that it has there.
    Senator Mikulski. Yes, but what are the top three things 
that you need? So one is this national model and I'm not sure 
what that means. But what are the top three things to deal with 
the backlog? What do you anticipate the backlog reduction will 
be for this coming year? We know backlogs can't just evaporate 
but we know--so can you tell us the top three things--what are 
your benchmarks and goals? How will you measure improvements in 
the reduction of backlogs? What would be the matrix that you 
would use?
    So what is your plan? What are your top three? What are 
your benchmarks for evaluation and what will be the matrix that 
you will use to evaluate that these suggestions or management 
models are effective?
    Ms. Earp. Madam Chair, because we are finalizing our 
strategic plan, I would really like to provide you with our top 
three benchmarks, and especially our measures at a later time, 
if you would allow me to do that.
    Senator Mikulski. Certainly. We would like the benchmarks 
and we'd like the matrix so then we're all--we all are clear 
then on what are the criteria by which we can evaluate progress 
and we can evaluate--and we can do our stewardship. But what 
are the top three things that you are going to do to eliminate 
the backlog?
    So one is the national model idea.
    Ms. Earp. One is to function on a national model. Number 
two is to have enough savings to be flexible and we are getting 
our savings from managing our rent, managing our attrition 
rates, preparing to relocate the headquarters office, as well 
as right size field offices and to use money saved there. To 
better train our staff is the third.
    Senator Mikulski. So what you're really doing with your 
three ways of reducing backlog is trying to find money 
elsewhere and to come up with savings. Is that right?
    Ms. Earp. We're trying----
    Senator Mikulski. Do you need more people? Or are you--the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB)--listen, we're not trying 
to embarrass you, please. Are you OMB embargoed and can't tell 
me that?
    Ms. Earp. Yes, ma'am.
    Senator Mikulski. Okay. Well, I think that answers the 
question. If I could come back to the 543, were they in 
particular areas, like law? Were they back office support? Were 
they paralegals? Are there ways that technology can help you do 
things apart from this call center? We'll come back to that. 
Where did you lose most of your people?
    Ms. Earp. Most staff were lost with investigators and 
administrative support staff. Paralegals, clericals, the people 
who are a part of a very people-driven process on the customer 
service end. We've had less loss, I think, with attorneys but a 
lot on the enforcement staff with investigators.
    Senator Mikulski. So really, the front line staff, which is 
where the calls come in and then the people who actually 
initiate, particularly that initial claim and that's where, 
because you've lost investigators, the backlog in the initial 
claims is the one that's growing. Am I correct in that?
    Ms. Earp. Yes.
    Senator Mikulski. And then, of course, investigators need 
what we'll call the back office support, is that correct?
    Ms. Earp. Yes.
    Senator Mikulski. Can you tell me about how many 
investigators you lost and what would that be in terms of a 
budget item?
    Ms. Earp. I can't provide budget information but over a 
period of time, we've lost about 500 employees, the majority of 
those being on the enforcement side of the house versus the 
legal side.
    Senator Mikulski. Right. And enforcement is a word to mean 
the investigation of the complaints, which then determine the 
nature--when the validity of the complaint and the nature of 
the complaint, which meant some could go into mediation and 
some would have to follow our legal procedures, is that right?
    Ms. Earp. That's correct.
    Senator Mikulski. But this is the gateway and then would 
you say that this is also now the choke point in terms of 
creating the backlog?
    Ms. Earp. Yes. The inventory and receipts come in on the 
enforcement side of the house so the inventory grows on the 
enforcement side of the house.
    Senator Mikulski. Okay. My time has expired. I want to turn 
to Senator Alexander and Senator, why don't you proceed?

                       SALVATION ARMY LITIGATION

    Senator Alexander. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I have a 
question on a little different subject. Thank you for coming 
and I say, as I reflect on the discussion you've just had with 
the chairman about the need to allocate to resources and the 
56,000 case backlog. Are you aware of the lawsuit that the EEOC 
has filed against the Salvation Army, alleging that they fired 
two employees for not being able to speak English, according to 
the Salvation Army's policy that its employees should speak 
English in the workplace?
    Ms. Earp. Yes, sir.
    Senator Alexander. I want to ask you about that a little 
bit. As I understand the facts, the Salvation Army has a policy 
that says employees are expected to speak English and that it 
gave two employees who did not, 1 year to learn English and 
then when they didn't, it fired them. Am I to understand that 
any business in the United States cannot have a policy that 
requires its employees to speak our national language?
    Ms. Earp. No, sir. The--and I don't want to say too much 
about the Salvation Army case because it is ongoing. But the 
question, when an employer has an English only standard, as is 
alleged in this particular case, the issue for us is whether or 
not there is a business necessity for that requirement. If the 
charging party, the victim, the plaintiff, is engaged in work 
that doesn't require customer contact that is not a matter of 
health or safety, that there appears to be no legitimate reason 
to require English only, then it becomes unlawful or at least--
--
    Senator Alexander. Well, whose job is it to prove that? It 
would be the employer's responsibility, right?
    Ms. Earp. Well, the employer has a responsibility to 
articulate for us a business necessity.
    Senator Alexander. Right. So every employer in the country 
has got to come before the EEOC and prove that there is a 
reason for speaking English only. Do you conduct your staff 
meetings in more than one language?
    Ms. Earp. No, sir.
    Senator Alexander. What's the reason for that?
    Ms. Earp. I only speak one.
    Senator Alexander. Well, what about your employees? Do you 
hire employees who only speak English in your staff, for 
example?
    Ms. Earp. No, we have staff that are bilingual.
    Senator Alexander. Well, no--only English. I mean, if 
Senator Shelby were to say, I only hire employees who can speak 
English because we have maybe 100 languages spoken in Alabama 
and I want to make sure that the common language is spoken 
here. Would he have to justify that to the EEOC that he has a 
business reason to do that?
    Ms. Earp. No. I think the circumstances under which we 
would be interested or get involved are very specific and on a 
case-by-case basis. An employer who establishes an English only 
rule has a responsibility to show a business necessity for that 
rule.
    Senator Alexander. Madam Chairman, I only have 2 minutes 
left. I find that an astonishing waste of your time and 
contrary to every effort we're making in the United States 
today to try to have one country. I mean, I've spent the last 
40 years voting for civil rights acts, but the reason was so 
that we could have a single country and there are only a few 
things that unite us.
    One is our common language, English. One is a few 
principles that we learned in the Declaration of Independence--
I mean, I hardly know where to start with this. The Senate, 
last year, in debating the immigration legislation, declared 
English our national language, which you're now suing the 
Salvation Army to say they can't require employees to speak, 
even though they clearly posted it and employees don't have to 
work for the Salvation Army--the Senate said, we're going to 
give 500 grants to help prospective citizens learn English.
    The Senate said that people have to learn English before 
gaining legal status here. Since 1906, people have had to learn 
English to become citizens of the United States. It's not a 
punitive requirement. It's a requirement to help us make a 
common language.
    We have 28 languages spoken at the school my daughter went 
to. And it seems to me, completely contrary to everything I 
know about the importance of achieving unity in our country for 
us to, in effect, by your lawsuit, require every single 
employer in America to prove business necessity to the EEOC in 
order to require English in the workplace. Some may have to 
worry that if they post that in order to work here, you have to 
speak our common language, English, that they may be sued by 
you if they don't.
    Carlos Ghosn is the head of Nissan. He went to Japan to 
take charge of that company. He requires them all to speak 
English in their meetings because they need a common language. 
I don't know how you can conduct a staff meeting at the 
Salvation Army Thrift Store if people speak 15 different 
languages. A 9-1-1 telephone call wouldn't be useful to a 
Chinese person if the person who answered the phone spoke 
Spanish.
    So I would like to respectfully ask that if you have a 
backlog of 56,000 cases, that you put your resources on 
something other than harassing the Salvation Army Thrift Store, 
which is a nonprofit, charitable organization that relies on 
contributions for having to hire lawyers to defend for 
requiring their employees to speak our common language. I can't 
imagine why the EEOC would do that. And if necessary, I'll 
introduce legislation to permit employers in the United States 
to require their employees to speak our common language in the 
workplace. I never had imagined that might be necessary but if 
you persist in this, then I intend to do that.
    Senator Shelby. I just want to ask the chairperson, what is 
the origin of this lawsuit, assuming that what he is asking is 
factual and I believe, to me, that's--you know, we're promoting 
English as the language that unifies us. It binds us together. 
I think if you're doing this, you're going down a path that 
Congress is going to hit you hard on and I believe if you're 
doing this, I don't know what the legal basis of that is. I've 
never heard of such.
    Ms. Earp. EEOC has had a longstanding policy that 
essentially says when an employer takes an action that could be 
construed as an action based on that person's ethnicity, their 
race or their gender, that the employer has a responsibility to 
articulate a reasonable, legitimate business necessity. In 
other words, an employer can't say to someone, you can't speak 
your foreign language, your native language on the job unless 
there is a business reason. If it were for health, a nurse, if 
it were for public safety, a police officer, then it is 
required. But if the person is cleaning your floor or if the 
person is pressing your clothes or in this case, merely folding 
clothes but not having--allegedly not having any contact with 
the public. There appears to be no business reason to deny that 
person the right to speak their native language.
    Senator Shelby. Are we talking about working or speaking? 
You know, why--I personally wouldn't hire anybody in my office 
here or anything else, any other business if they couldn't 
speak English because English is the business language of this 
country. They couldn't help me. They couldn't help. I think 
you're missing the point.
    Senator Mikulski. Before the Chair responds, I'm going to, 
upon the completion of this line of questioning, the 
subcommittee will stand in recess and the first of the three to 
get back that wants to continue questioning can pick up on it. 
I'm going to excuse myself now. Did you want to?
    Senator Alexander [presiding]. Madam Chairman, that will be 
all my questions. I would just ask the Chairman in light of her 
56,000 case backlog and the commitment of this country to 
English as our national language, to think very carefully about 
whether this not only is a wise use of resources, but to 
consider that we've required every new citizen in this country 
to learn English since 1906. That's not discrimination. That's 
a form of national unity and we seek ways to encourage people 
not to learn English, not to learn it at the beginning of the 
previous century.
    Organizations all over America required the learning of 
English so that we could be one country, so we could talk with 
one another and that was one way we became Americans. Our oath 
of citizenship actually renounces where we've come from and 
says we've become an American and 650,000 people take it this 
year and they don't get to be Americans unless they speak 
English.
    I introduced legislation last year the Senate passed to say 
you can become a citizen a year earlier if you become 
proficient in English to try to send a signal of the importance 
of our common language. So it seems to me that if a company 
posts this and believes it is important to speak the common 
language, to have an integrated team, that it shouldn't be 
required to hire lawyers and justify to the EEOC why that 
company requires its employees to speak our common language in 
the workplace. So I hope you'll think carefully about this and 
about the relative value of it in terms of all the other things 
that you have to do.
    Ms. Earp. Senator, may I seek a private meeting with you at 
some point and perhaps your staff, to share the policies and to 
further discuss what your concerns are?
    Senator Alexander. I'd be happy to do that, Madam Chair and 
now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to join my colleagues and go 
vote.
    Ms. Earp. Thank you.
    Senator Mikulski [presiding]. The Subcommittee on Commerce, 
Justice, Science is officially reconvened and continues its 
oversight hearing on the Equal Employment Opportunity 
Commission.

                           REPOSITIONING PLAN

    Madam Chair, I want to go into questions about the field 
offices and the results of the National Academy for Public 
Administration (NAPA) study. Ordinarily, I'm a big fan of NAPA 
studies. When I was both the Chair and the ranking member of 
VA/HUD, we used--Senator Bond and I used NAPA a lot. In fact, 
it helped start one of the initial reforms of the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under President Bush One. 
But I'm not so sure about this NAPA set of recommendations and 
the field studies and the track it put us on and now where we 
are with that.
    As I understand it, this resulted in--the number of 
district offices was reduced from 23 to 15. Is that correct?
    Ms. Earp. Yes.
    Senator Mikulski. And are there plans for further 
reductions now?
    Ms. Earp. No.
    Senator Mikulski. So you feel this is it?
    Ms. Earp. The field repositioning has been effective since 
January 2006. For now, things seem to be working well. There 
are no plans to further realign the field although we are 
looking at restructuring headquarters.
    Senator Mikulski. Well, we'll come back to headquarters 
because there is a lot in the--provided in the news about the 
headquarters.
    Let me go to where I'm concerned about the field offices 
and then I'm going to talk about the Maryland field office, 
which put us in a very prickly relationship. Now, when the 
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission embarked upon the 
implementation of the reduction of the number of district 
offices, the authorizing committee that Senator Kennedy chaired 
and I was a member, voiced very strong opposition to that with 
your predecessor. So again, this is something again that you've 
inherited and we had very serious concerns about which offices 
were going to be downsized, not only numerically but in terms 
of stature and in terms of the focus of what their work would 
be and you're familiar with the district office, the local 
office has very different functions.
    We were ignored and our problem is this--here's our 
national problem. Our national problem is number one, 
population centers are changing. So as you know, the growing 
populations, particularly in our border States. If our western 
Senators were here, Texas, New Mexico, of course California--
with that is bringing other kinds of challenges on 
discrimination.
    Also we have places in our country where there are centers 
of large Muslim populations. They feel that because of dynamics 
in the larger society, they are facing discrimination from the 
kind of clothes they could wear in the workplace to overtly 
being shut out of possible jobs.
    So my question to you is the framework that we now have for 
district offices demographically outdated? And if you don't 
know the answer to that, that's okay because I'm going to get 
to another part of that. But do you see? This study was done in 
2002. We're in a very different world order now, in many 
different ways.
    I'm concerned that your location of your field offices--
we're not talking about closing any but really helping you 
meet--we have a saying. I'm a professionally trained social 
worker. I know you come from a background of Federal agencies--
to meet people where they are, not where you want them to be. 
You have to meet people where they are, not where you've got 
your field office.
    So my question is, that in the analysis of where your cases 
are coming from, where your analysis is with the new demography 
of our country, is in fact the need for more field offices, 
more strategically located on the basis of the complaints that 
are coming. In other words, where the dynamics seem to be and 
also where the population centers are that seem to be 
experiencing significant barriers in terms of employment and 
employment discrimination. Do you see where I'm heading?
    Ms. Earp. I do and I have two responses. One response is, 
we think for the short term that the decision to open the 
southern office in Mobile and the western office in Las Vegas, 
we're right on--that they were consistent with the demographic 
trends.
    My longer answer is, one of the positive things about the 
National Contact Center is it allows us to capture the data 
from where the calls come in, not just the issue raised but 
what part of the country right down to the zip code, that call 
came in from. So in the long term, I think that we will be 
better able to refine where offices are located.
    The only other point that I would make, Madam Chair, is we 
have historically tried to put the offices in a transportation 
center because often charging parties don't own cars. Sometimes 
they are not the highest socioeconomic rungs so it has been 
important to at least have those offices where public 
transportation is accessible.
    Senator Mikulski. Well, first of all, I think that's a very 
important goal and we'll come back to again, to the Maryland 
situation. But to be sure I understand the answer to your 
question, you want to use the data from the call center as a 
way of analyzing trends, both in the nature and the type of 
complaint that you're getting, because it's supposed to be 
gateway and number two, you want to look at it in terms of 
where is the volume coming from, to then assess whether you 
need more field offices. Is that correct?
    Ms. Earp. Well, we have the capability of looking at that 
data over time to see exactly what the issues are and where the 
issues are coming from. I don't think that we have given, at 
this particular point, any study or thought to opening 
additional field offices. Obviously that requires a lot of 
thought, a lot of deliberation, a lot of consultation with----
    Senator Mikulski. But I'm thinking about it. And I believe 
that members of the subcommittee are thinking about it because 
one of the hallmarks of our country is the fact that if you 
feel you are discriminated against, you have legitimate 
channels for redressing grievances. There are countries that 
are facing challenges, European Union (EU) countries with 
immigrant populations where they feel that they are frozen in 
place and they become targets of recruitment for radical 
organizations.
    We, on a bipartisan basis, believe in the opportunity 
ladder, which I believe you do believe in and you yourself, as 
I, have lived and benefited from this ladder. At the same time 
there must be a place to redress your grievances. In this 
country a person should not feel that you are frozen in place 
because of what your last name looks like or the clothes you 
wear or the accent that you might bring into the marketplace 
and if you feel that, if you feel you have a legitimate place--
you have a place to take a legitimate grievance and that 
grievance will be met in a fair, open, consistent way, it's our 
way. It's the American way. And because it is an American way, 
that's why we've been able to, every generation, right or 
wrong, in every generation, welcome these new people.
    So you see why we feel--it's not about field offices and 
it's not about my district or that district. It's about America 
and it's about having the opportunity to redress grievances.

                                FUNDING

    I was looking at--first of all, I'm very disturbed that the 
EEOC has been flat funded for 5 years. We also know it's been 
underfunded for a number of years so we're not pointing to an 
administration though this one has kept it flat funded while 
other benefits went in other areas.
    So we're looking at that. I was going to suggest a study 
but before we get into that, what we will then ask for you and 
your team to think about it. Because if the call center is 
going to be your tool, then the call center has got to work 
right and I don't have a lot of confidence right this minute in 
the call center. So let's put this on hold because I'm going to 
come back to the field offices.
    But you see where we are heading. It is to mission and to 
purpose. It's not about bureaucracy and these questions are 
meant so that we can have--we want America to be America. 
That's what we want. We want the Constitution and its laws to 
be able to be enforced and we want the people who are asked to 
do that to be in the right place with the right number of 
people, with the right tools to do this. That's where we're 
heading with this.

                      DOWNSIZING BALTIMORE OFFICE

    Now, let me go to the field offices. My favorite topic of 
course, is Baltimore. We got into a very prickly relationship 
with your predecessor and we got into a prickly one for several 
reasons. One, we felt we were not listened to and I'll give the 
reasons why we raised our challenges to the downsizing or down 
grading of the Baltimore office.
    Second, we felt that one, there was a promise made to take 
a look at it, which was never fulfilled. And number three, we 
felt that it was overall symbolic of what was felt by many 
employees, an imperial management style. So you need to know, 
that's where all the prickly comes from. Okay?
    Now, let's start with not being heard. One of the reasons 
we were concerned about the Baltimore District Office is not 
because it's Baltimore and Senator Mikulski's going to fight 
for one more thing and don't close this and don't downgrade 
that. Part of that would be true. You know me. You're my 
constituent. So you know where we would be.
    But I will go to the Baltimore office and what its job is. 
As you know, Maryland is the home to Federal employees. You 
yourself worked at, I believe, at NIH.
    Ms. Earp. Yes.
    Senator Mikulski. As well as other Federal agencies and I 
believe you developed certain diversity initiatives, which were 
much needed at the agency. As you know, it's had its own 
challenges with equal opportunity and you see, that's my whole 
point that within the National Capital region, not only 
Baltimore but also Northern Virginia.
    We are home to probably the largest number of Federal 
employees than anywhere in the United States of America. 
Because of that and in the Baltimore area, we're the home to 
significant ones, like the Social Security Administration 
(SSA). There are over 15,000 people who work there because it 
functions 24/7. You just don't do Social Security--it's not 
only the people who take the claims--all of that processing, 
which means the right check to the right person right on time, 
goes 24/7.
    That Social Security office in and of itself has an 
incredible history. When Lyndon Johnson was President and he 
said that the Federal Government would be the model employer, 
many African-Americans for the first time, felt that if you 
were talented, you could go to work for the Federal Government. 
So people like Kurt Schmoke's dad, with a background in 
chemical engineering, could go to work at Aberdeen. Men and 
women who had experience in law or business could come to 
Social Security.
    If you came to me with the Woodlawn community and saw the 
people who work there and people who retired. They worked hard. 
They did the right check at the right amount to the right 
person at the right time but they also, because they had 
opportunity at Social Security, could move on up, raise a 
family, send their kids to school and make a life. I only use 
that as an example.
    What we know in the Baltimore area is that because of the 
number of Federal employees that they needed a place to go. So 
just even in that larger metropolitan area, then also we are in 
tremendous economic change with populations. Twenty-five 
percent of our population in the State is African-American, 
still facing redlining and sidelining.
    As you know, sometimes it is sidelining, not the overt 
discrimination and you are an expert in the field. So we were 
concerned that because they eliminated the regional attorneys, 
they eliminated 20 jobs and then they downsized, telling 
essentially the Baltimore metropolitan area, go to Washington.
    But going to Washington along with the Washington 
metropolitan demands on EEOC, which again, looking back from 
your National Institutes of Health (NIH) hat, you know the 
stresses and strains and now you see it from a management 
capacity. If Webb and Warner were here, they would be talking 
about the Northern Virginia area. So you see why we didn't want 
Baltimore downsized? But we weren't heard. We were not heard. 
Then we were told, oh, I will take a look at it and then we 
were told that it would be kept a district office. That word 
was broken with me. Okay? And it was actually broken with 
Senator Kennedy, who also was aware of this.
    So it seemed like the team was clueless about being 
involved with Congress. Now, we can get involved in a lot of 
tying you up into knots and into all that. I don't want to do 
that. I believe it is new leadership and it's time for a new 
start. And I think that's what you want. Am I right?
    Ms. Earp. Absolutely.
    Senator Mikulski. Do you want to respond to what I've said 
so far?
    Ms. Earp. Yes. Let me start----
    Senator Mikulski. I went through this narrative because I 
felt--one, because again, we have national responsibility but I 
want to use my situation as a cameo because other colleagues 
have some of the same questions.
    Ms. Earp. Well, first of all, Madam Chair, let me say, I 
hear you. I hear you loud and clear and I thank you for giving 
me an opportunity to demonstrate my leadership and my 
commitment. I start by saying, I respect the role of the 
legislative branch, and obviously my Appropriations Committee, 
the subcommittee, I respect tremendously.
    I intend to operate in a spirit of transparency and one of 
comity and respect for your role and to seek the subcommittee's 
advice and guidance on changes, proposals, activities at the 
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and I would also say, I 
am a political appointee today but I have 20 years prior to 
today, of being a career civil servant. I don't think anyone 
who has ever worked with me would describe me as being 
imperial. My style is open----
    No, no, no--I absolutely agree. I say that only as an 
example of what the changed environment is at the Commission 
today.
    Senator Mikulski. I want to talk about a way forward. First 
of all, I'd like to talk about the National Capital region and 
the tremendous changes that are coming to the region and then 
the fact that I would like an evaluation of the field offices 
and so on, in the National Capital region.
    The National Capital region, to me, is Northern Virginia, 
really up to around Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Okay? And what is 
happening is that base realignment and closure (BRAC) is 
coming. The base realignment and with that means more jobs. 
There are more jobs that are coming to Fort Belvoir than have 
ever come before.
    If we look at Aberdeen, Fort Meade, Naval Bethesda, these 
are all--Walter Reed is consolidating but also more coming to 
Aberdeen and to Fort Meade. We estimate that anywhere from 
10,000 to 30,000 new jobs are going to be created by base 
realignment that either will be direct civil servants jobs or 
private sector jobs and particularly in the area of security. 
Along with that will come support services in law, real estate, 
et cetera. So the good news is, our economy will continue to 
boom.
    At the same time, there will be new populations coming and 
some directly related to Federal employment. What I would like 
is to evaluate what it is that the EEOC needs to do to be ready 
because this was a 2002 NAPA study, which is no longer relevant 
to what the population is or won't be or whatever, particularly 
for those who have responsibility to Federal employees or 
private contractors funded by the Federal Government.
    Because if we're not the--you know this--if we're not the 
model employer, how do we go to the private sector? If we are 
not the best, then how can we ask them to do this? So, this is 
why I would like to both--we don't want to micromanage the 
nature of the study. We want to work with you in a very 
collegial way to take a look now at the National Capital region 
and what is here, both in public and private areas and how we 
need to reassess in a post-2002 world. Do you follow me?
    Ms. Earp. Yes.
    Senator Mikulski. So we can get at what do we need and 
where do we need it and is it really dysfunctional to get 
people who are working in certain areas to have to come to a 
Washington office that is already overburdened and overstressed 
because it's the Washington office. It's the mother ship 
office.
    Ms. Earp. Madam Chair, would you anticipate that we would 
fund this study out of the 2008 budget?
    Senator Mikulski. You mean fund the study? For whatever I'm 
going to ask you to do, I will make sure you have the money to 
do it.
    Ms. Earp. Thank you.
    Senator Mikulski. Okay? No, because we are--I will come 
back to the fact that I think I and others are concerned about 
the flat funding of the EEOC. We acknowledge that you've had to 
forage for funds so we're not--anything we're going to ask you 
to do, we will be a pay as you go subcommittee. Okay? That will 
be my contract with you. What I need back from you then is us 
to find out what it is that we need so we are focusing on the--
I'm a data driven lady. So on the basis of sound data that has 
had rigorous intellectual analysis about what is it that we 
need, even if it takes us a while to get to it but we'll know 
then what we need. And we can discuss whether that should be 
done internally or done externally. Okay?
    Because I come back to the fact that Maryland--we get 
casework calls but Maryland constituents are complaining about 
their complaints not being fully investigated. They feel that 
they are turned away early--that for a variety of reasons, they 
don't feel that their complaints are being rigorously 
investigated.
    So what we want to be able to do is look not only at 
Baltimore but the Capital region, looking at BRAC. As I said, 
just in Maryland alone, over 40,000 jobs but they really won't 
be coming until 2009 and 2010. We can just take a look at what 
will come. We also know that--so that's where, that's kind of 
where we are. Does that sound like a good way to go?
    Ms. Earp. Yes, ma'am.

                          NATIONAL CALL CENTER

    Senator Mikulski. Now, this takes me to the call center. 
You know, I understand why NAPA recommended the call center but 
we were really concerned because the Federal Government has not 
had good experiences with national call centers, whether it has 
been the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, whether it 
has been the Immigration Service call center and so on.
    And what we were concerned about that with this 2-year 
contract, that with all the work that needs to be done, that 
they only agreed to 36 jobs. They got 7 days of training. They 
had training and experience in civil rights law. Calls never 
reached to the volume that EEOC predicted. I do acknowledge the 
facts that you have presented to the subcommittee seem to be 
different than what we heard even say, 3 months ago, about this 
call center.
    But to us, the call center has never lived up to its 
promise. We're concerned about the fact that though we say it's 
24 hours, it's really an answering machine, I believe, so could 
you tell me what you want to do with this call center? Because 
we're not happy with it. And yet, you're going to rely on it to 
be--play a very important role and then also to tell you 
trends.
    Ms. Earp. I would absolutely stipulate that the call 
center, the National Contact Center got off to a rocky start. 
But it is so dramatically improved from its beginnings in March 
2005. The call center currently will answer the phone in an 
average of 1 minute. There are times that the wait is somewhat 
longer but on average, in 1 minute. It allows us to track data, 
to do monitoring and the question about training for the 
customer service representatives--they receive the same 
training that we give brand new investigators.
    Senator Mikulski. When did you do that? When was all that? 
That's not what we were told. We were told 7 days of training. 
I think you give your investigators more than that.
    Ms. Earp. Not initially.
    Senator Mikulski. You mean your investigators only get 7 
days of training in civil rights law?
    Ms. Earp. They get 1 week of basic training. Now the thing 
with investigators is, we have an opportunity over time, to 
refine that training and they're on the ground so they get to 
practice their skills. But the customer service representatives 
are not responding to in-depth inquiries. We think that they 
have sufficient training to do that first response to the 
caller coming in. It is--despite the problems in the beginning, 
it is admittedly substantially improved today.
    The issue is, if we don't have a national way to answer 
phones of some sort, either the one that we're currently 
working with or one that is inside, we are going to be in a 
crisis because they answer more than 600,000 calls for us, 
which frees up--which frees up investigators and attorneys to 
do the real jobs that they are hired for.
    Senator Mikulski. You know, you and I could go back and 
forth on the call center and I don't know where it would take 
us. Whenever I ask a question, I always wonder, what's the 
destination? In other words, where am I going? What I--I want 
to acknowledge the validity of the need for a call center. 
Okay? So we understand that.
    The question is, is this call center really operating the 
way it should and what all does it need to be run effectively? 
I'm not disputing what you are saying. We could spend a lot of 
time going back and forth but I feel that I need an independent 
analysis of the call center. This is not being provocative with 
you. But where we then would have some type of document, again, 
for a way forward.
    So you see where I'm heading with the EEOC? We've given the 
EEOC a forum that they have not had in a number of years. I--we 
checked our records. We can't find when was the last time this 
subcommittee asked the EEOC to come and tell us their story and 
that we could share this.
    So this is one of the reasons we wanted to because our 
accountability and oversight is to see what is our job and then 
what is your job and again, for the way forward. So where I am, 
because we could talk about headquarters, et cetera, is to be 
sure that we have, for the need for the management reforms 
necessary, we're going to be looking at a way of getting an 
independent analysis.

                     HEADQUARTERS RELOCATION PLANS

    I'm going to come back to this in 1 minute but please tell 
me, tell me about this headquarters situation. I read that you 
are moving. I read that people don't like the fact that you're 
moving. I read they don't like where you're moving. We wonder 
about--do you have to move? What is it going to cost to move? 
Is this something that will take a lot of time, energy and be a 
distraction from the mission? Do you want to talk to us about 
the move?
    Ms. Earp. Well, change is always difficult and a move like 
this one--I was actually working for the Commission when the 
lease was signed on the building that we're currently in and I 
remember some employees back then not wanting to move from 
Columbia Plaza, which is where we were at the time. So the move 
is difficult.
    But in terms of managing our resources, we believe that a 
move is necessary. The Commission has factored into its budget 
process for the last 5 years, savings from rent. We moved the 
Washington field office into the headquarters building 1 year 
ago and immediately saved $500,000.
    So the plan for some time has been as leases expire, to 
right size the office. We've lost employees so we don't need as 
much space. So the short answer is, yes, we think that we need 
to move, not only because we don't need as much space as we 
currently occupy but because the current landlord doesn't 
really want us to stay. He really wants to go back commercial 
with that building.
    The General Services Administration (GSA) has served as our 
agent in this process. They effectively recommended a spot to 
us, which our very enterprising employees are speculating about 
where it is but really, because of the Procurement Integrity 
Act, we're not even at liberty to say exactly what the location 
is.
    Senator Mikulski. You mean I have to go into a classified 
hearing like I would with the Federal Bureau of Investigation 
(FBI) to find this out?
    Ms. Earp. Well, I----
    Senator Mikulski. No, I understand. But what you're saying 
is you have to move?
    Ms. Earp. Yes.
    Senator Mikulski. And that the landlord has told you to 
move?
    Ms. Earp. Essentially, the lease expires next year and he 
is----
    Senator Mikulski. The lease expires when?
    Ms. Earp. July 2008.
    Senator Mikulski. So it's July 2008, not July 2007. Okay.
    Ms. Earp. No but the process to plan for a move when you 
have technology, you have case files, you have to notify the 
public. We thought that we needed to get started. In fact, I 
feel we're starting a little bit late because we're only giving 
ourselves just a little more than 1 year when we probably 
should have had as many as 18 months to prepare.
    Senator Mikulski. Well--but you are working with GSA?
    Ms. Earp. Yes.
    Senator Mikulski. Because all the street buzz is that you 
were acting on your own.
    Ms. Earp. Not at all.
    Senator Mikulski. Kind of like drive-by buying.
    Ms. Earp. No.
    Senator Mikulski. So you're not a drive-by buyer for a new 
Federal----
    Ms. Earp. No, ma'am.
    Senator Mikulski. Well, I think again, we're always 
concerned about the process and the integrity of the process. 
As long as EEOC feels that it has to move and it is working 
with GSA that really is along the path that the subcommittee 
would want to go.
    It's now 11:30. We have many other questions, which we will 
submit for the record because we are--I'm due on the Senate 
floor for speaking on drug safety.
    But I think this has been a very informative and 
constructive hearing but where I want to go forward is to 
really get a picture now of where is the EEOC? And I'm going to 
ask for--and I want you to know, I'm not now being--I don't 
want to be viewed as pugnacious, but I am going to ask for a 
Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit of EEOC because I 
want to get a sense of what was done.
    And what they would recommend needs to be done, what was 
the financial impact of restructuring and ultimately, what does 
this mean in terms of enforcing our civil rights? And we'll 
look to your leadership team too, to discuss what additional 
studies do we need to do in addition to this, to see where EEOC 
needs to go.
    This is the 21st century and we are righting the wrongs of 
so many centuries, in terms of the mission of this agency, yet 
we have new populations and new challenges and new other ways 
of discrimination. You said you were a career employee for how 
long?
    Ms. Earp. Twenty years.

                     ADDITIONAL COMMITTEE QUESTIONS

    Senator Mikulski. Twenty years. So you came in 1987. For 
those in 1977, it was another form of discrimination. For those 
first employees at the Social Security Administration, they had 
faced another kind, et cetera, et cetera. And we're just to 
make sure that the mission stays the same but we have new 
contemporary challenges. So we want to make sure that you're in 
the right place, meaning you are located in the right place 
with the right number of people, with the right resources so 
that we do the right thing by the people. So that's where we 
are.
    [The following questions were not asked at the hearing, but 
were submitted to the Commission for response subsequent to the 
hearing:]

           Questions Submitted by Senator Barbara A. Mikulski

                                BACKLOGS

    Question. How can EEOC meet its mission when backlogs continue to 
grow and the organization cuts staff?
    Answer. The Commission is keenly aware of the problems associated 
with a growing inventory of charges. Notwithstanding this challenge, 
the agency has and will continue to fulfill its mission of eliminating 
unlawful employment discrimination based on age, disability, race, 
color, sex, national origin and religion. We wish to put our rising 
inventory and other challenges in perspective. In 2006, during the last 
fiscal year, EEOC successfully mediated 8,200 charges--the most in EEOC 
history; resolved (closed) 74,000 charges filed by members of the 
public; processed to closure 5 Commissioner or systemic charges; 
recovered more than $274 million for victims of discrimination through 
administrative and legal enforcement; and filed 371 new lawsuits on the 
merits. Additionally, the agency secured, in thousands of cases, non-
monetary relief such as changes in personnel policies, reasonable 
accommodations and modifications to employment testing. All of this was 
accomplished with existing staff.
    It is true that over the last year, EEOC has eliminated several 
managerial positions. As senior individuals have left the agency, their 
specific jobs were not filled but associated savings were allocated to 
filling front line investigator, trial attorney and mediator vacancies. 
At present, EEOC hires managers only for those positions that are 
critical to the success of the agency mission, but we continue to 
conduct hiring of groups of investigators and trial attorneys. The 
National Contact Center is also producing efficiencies. Our front-line 
enforcement staff now can work on cases uninterrupted rather than 
having to respond to general inquiry calls, which number nearly 700,000 
calls annually. Thus, staff are focusing on the jobs they were hired to 
perform.
    The Committee can be assured that EEOC will continue to manage our 
resources effectively, increasing supervisory spans of control, 
eliminating managerial layers and training our staff in new 
technological developments. We are most fortunate to have a talented, 
highly-motivated workforce so that we can continue our mission of 
eliminating unlawful employment discrimination ``root and branch''.
    Question. How is employee morale at EEOC?
    Answer. The Partnership for Public Service reported in their ``Best 
Places to Work in the Federal Government 2007 Rankings'' that when 
compared to 30 large agencies, EEOC ranked 24th. The EEOC ranked 2nd in 
Employee Skills/Mission match in this report.
    Based on the ``2006 Federal Human Capital Survey'' conducted by the 
Office of Personnel Management, EEOC rated 21st on Job Satisfaction out 
of 36 agencies.
    Question. How many cases, on average, does a single EEOC 
investigator handle at the same time?
    Answer. Over the last 5\1/2\ years, the average workload per 
investigator based on end of year data has been approximately 40 
assigned charges. However, as the chart below indicates, during the 
period in question, the average workload has increased steadily from a 
low of 28 charges per investigator assigned in 2002 to a high of 63 at 
mid-year 2007.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Pending End Inventory          Investigators
                                                            ---------------------------------      Assigned
                                                                                             -------------------
                                                               Total      ADR    Enforcement             Charges
                                                                                                Total      Per
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2007 \1\...................................................    45,943     6,997      38,946        619        63
2006.......................................................    39,946     6,485      33,461        653        51
2005.......................................................    33,562     5,700      27,862        711        39
2004.......................................................    29,966     5,289      24,677        730        34
2003.......................................................    29,368     5,229      24,139        785        31
2002.......................................................    29,041     5,540      23,501        829        28
                                                            ----------------------------------------------------
Average....................................................    34,638     5,873      28,764        721        40
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Mid-year data.

    Question. How many support personnel help a single investigator 
handle his or her cases?
    Answer. The number of support personnel varies from office to 
office depending on the on-board resources. Most field offices have an 
Investigator Support Assistant (ISA) on-board. See Attachment I for 
breakout of ISAs and other support personnel by office. The ISA 
performs a range of investigator-related duties that includes providing 
pre-charge counseling to potential charging parties. In some field 
offices, ISAs perfect charges received in the mail. Field support 
personnel also handle a large percentage of information calls from the 
public.

                                  ATTACHMENT I.--FIELD STAFFING--AS OF 5/16/07
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                         Investigator
            District                         Office              Office   Investigators     Support     Support
                                                                 Total                       Assts       Staff
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atlanta.........................  Atlanta....................         75           35              4          10
                                  Savannah...................          9            5              1           2
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      Atlanta Total.............  ...........................         84           40              5          12
                                                              ==================================================
Birmingham......................  Birmingham.................         67           25              4           9
                                  Jackson....................         26           14              2           6
                                  Mobile.....................          2            1              0   .........
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      Birmingham Total..........  ...........................         95           40              6          15
                                                              ==================================================
Charlotte.......................  Charlotte..................         47           13              1           6
                                  Greensboro.................          8            5              0           1
                                  Greenville.................         11            6              0           2
                                  Norfolk....................         15            5              1           3
                                  Raleigh....................         18            7              0           4
                                  Richmond...................         17            6              0           2
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      Charlotte Total...........  ...........................        116           42              2          18
                                                              ==================================================
Chicago.........................  Chicago....................         85           36              4          11
                                  Milwaukee..................         35           11              1           5
                                  Minneapolis................         17            6              1           4
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      Chicago Total.............  ...........................        137           53              6          20
                                                              ==================================================
Dallas..........................  Dallas.....................         64           21              2          10
                                  El Paso....................         16           10              0           2
                                  San Antonio................         50           20              1           5
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      Dallas Total..............  ...........................        130           51              3          17
                                                              ==================================================
Houston.........................  Houston....................         67           27              0           9
                                  New Orleans................         36           11              2           6
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      Houston Total.............  ...........................        103           38              2          15
                                                              ==================================================
Indianapolis....................  Cincinnati.................         14            7    ............          2
                                  Detroit....................         40           16              1           5
                                  Indianapolis...............         73           30              2          11
                                  Louisville.................         19            8              1           4
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      Indianapolis Total........  ...........................        146           61              4          22
                                                              ==================================================
Los Angeles.....................  Fresno.....................          3            1              0   .........
                                  Honolulu...................          7            3              0           1
                                  Las Vegas..................          6            2              0           1
                                  Los Angeles................         56           15              1           8
                                  San Diego..................         12            5              0           2
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      Los Angeles Total.........  ...........................         84           26              1          12
                                                              ==================================================
Memphis.........................  Little Rock................         24           12              0           3
                                  Memphis....................         46           13              0           8
                                  Nashville..................         21           11              1           3
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      Memphis Total.............  ...........................         91           36              1          14
                                                              ==================================================
Miami...........................  Miami......................         72           32              2           7
                                  San Juan...................          9            4              1           2
                                  Tampa......................         28           16              1           5
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      Miami Total...............  ...........................        109           52              4          14
                                                              ==================================================
New York........................  Boston.....................         20            7              1           4
                                  Buffalo....................         10            7              0           2
                                  New York...................         72           20              1          10
                                  Newark.....................         14            6              1           4
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      New York Total............  ...........................        116           40              3          20
                                                              ==================================================
Philadelphia....................  Baltimore..................         44           13              2           7
                                  Cleveland..................         48           14              3           9
                                  Philadelphia...............         64           21              0           8
                                  Pittsburgh.................         23           12              2           4
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      Philadelphia Total........  ...........................        179           60              7          28
                                                              ==================================================
Phoenix.........................  Albuquerque................         20            8              2           4
                                  Denver.....................         45           14              1           7
                                  Phoenix....................         58           21              1           9
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      Phoenix Total.............  ...........................        123           43              4          20
                                                              ==================================================
San Francisco...................  Oakland....................          3            2              1           1
                                  San Francisco..............         53           10              1           6
                                  San Jose...................         10            4              1           2
                                  Seattle....................         40           12              2           6
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      San Francisco Total.......  ...........................        106           28              5          15
                                                              ==================================================
St. Louis.......................  Kansas City................         19           10              1           2
                                  Oklahoma City..............         20           11              1           3
                                  St. Louis..................         40           15              1           6
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
      St. Louis Total...........  ...........................         79           36              3          11
                                                              ==================================================
Washington......................  Washington.................         32            4              4           8
                                                              ==================================================
      Field Total...............  ...........................      1,730          650             60         201
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question. How many front-line staff do you have in each area office 
to take initial complaints?
    Answer. The chart in Attachment I provides an office-by-office 
breakout of the numbers of investigators, ISAs and support staff, all 
of whom may perform charge intake duties. The chart also reflects the 
overall total staff (both enforcement and legal) for each office.
    Question. Can you provide the Committee with a strategic plan that 
includes benchmarks for reducing EEOC's backlog and improving morale? 
(OCH)
    Answer. A copy of our current strategic plan (2007-2012) is 
attached. Many of the measures contained in that plan are to be 
determined. A revised strategic plan with specific performance measures 
is currently under development and will be voted on by the Commission 
when completed. We will of course share our plan with you when it is 
completed and approved.
    With regard to employee morale, as part of our current strategic 
plan we are improving our strategic management of human capital. The 
EEOC has completed key steps toward developing and implementing a human 
capital initiative. Planning for human capital needs is more important 
than ever. Our human capital strategic plan guides our agency's 
actions, including:
  --Revising our performance management system for executives and 
        managers to link their performance with the agency's mission 
        and goals.
  --Developing and sustaining leadership and supporting succession 
        planning through the agency's Management Development Institute, 
        an umbrella program addressing managerial needs of supervisors 
        and executives.
  --Participating in the Office of Personnel Management's human capital 
        surveys and implementing regular internal surveys to identify 
        employee satisfaction with human capital management and 
        developing action plans based on an analysis of feedback.
  --Identifying and quantifying mission critical competencies for key 
        positions, including investigators, attorneys and mediators, 
        developing multi-year training plans to address any 
        organizational gaps.
  --Closing gaps through individual development plans, mentoring, 
        training, rotational assignments and other staff development 
        initiatives.
  --Aggressively recruiting, developing and retaining high-quality 
        talent.
    The EEOC's program to reinvigorate our systemic discrimination 
program highlights the need to fine tune our human capital approaches. 
To succeed, the agency must enhance incentives for identifying, 
investigating, and litigating systemic cases, provide additional 
opportunities for training and the development of expertise related to 
systemic discrimination, and improve technology skills. Our systemic 
initiative will facilitate development of more refined approaches to 
enforcing the law. Our goal is to ensure that employees have the right 
skills, talents, and abilities to succeed in implementing this program.

                     EEOC OVERSIGHT OF EEO OFFICES

    Question. How does EEOC evaluate each equal employment office?
    Answer. The standards by which EEOC evaluates the sufficiency of 
federal agency Title VII and Rehabilitation Act programs are set forth 
in EEO Management Directive 715, which became effective in 2003. MD-715 
divides the essential elements of model agency EEO programs into six 
broad categories: (1) demonstrated commitment from agency leadership; 
(2) integration of EEO into the agency's strategic mission; (3) 
management and program accountability; (4) proactive prevention of 
unlawful discrimination; (5) efficiency; and (6) responsiveness and 
legal compliance.
    Pursuant to MD-715, agencies are required to conduct periodic self-
assessments of their Title VII and Rehabilitation Act programs against 
the six model elements enumerated above. Agencies are required to 
report on a yearly basis to EEOC their progress toward establishing and 
maintaining a model workplace. That report includes the identification 
of any program deficiencies and the identification of any barriers to 
equal employment an agency has discovered along with plans to eliminate 
any such barriers. Agencies also are required to submit to EEOC a 
series of data tables showing snapshots of their agency workforce by 
race, national origin, sex and targeted disability. EEOC evaluates each 
agency's submission and provides written feedback and analysis on each 
agency's progress toward establishing and maintaining a model EEO 
workplace and identifies areas in which each agency's program needs 
improvement.
    In addition to the written evaluations based upon agencies' MD-715 
reports, EEOC conducts a limited number of in-depth, program 
evaluations each year.
    Question. How often are evaluations conducted?
    Answer. Evaluations based upon agencies' MD-715 reports are 
conducted each year. EEOC also conducts more in-depth evaluations of 
agency EEO programs. EEOC conducted 3 such evaluations in fiscal year 
2004; 5 in fiscal year 2005; and 4 in fiscal year 2006. We plan to 
conduct 3 to 4 evaluations in fiscal year 2007.
    Question. What can a federal employee do if he or she feels that 
the agency EEO office is not investigating the case properly?
    Answer. There are several options available to a federal employee 
who feels that his or her complaint is not being properly processed. 
These options include raising these concerns with: (1) the agency 
officials responsible for conducting the investigation; (2) an EEOC 
Administrative Judge; and (3) the EEOC on appeal.
    Complaints concerning the processing of complaints, including how 
complaints are investigated, are addressed in the U.S. Equal Employment 
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Management Directive (MD) 110. 
Specifically, MD-110 Chapter 5 Section IV.D entitled ``Allegations of 
Dissatisfaction Regarding the Processing of Pending Complaints,'' 
provides that if a complainant is dissatisfied with the processing of 
his/her pending complaint, whether or not it alleges prohibited 
discrimination as a basis for dissatisfaction, s/he should be referred 
to the agency official responsible for the quality of complaints 
processing.
    Agency officials should earnestly attempt to resolve 
dissatisfaction with the complaints process as early and expeditiously 
as possible. Further, the agency official responsible for the quality 
of complaints processing must add a record of the complainant's 
concerns and any actions the agency took to resolve the concerns to the 
complaint file maintained on the underlying complaint. If no action was 
taken, the file must contain an explanation of the agency's reason(s) 
for not taking any action.
    In cases where the complainant's concerns have not been resolved 
informally with the agency, the complainant may present those concerns 
to the EEOC at either of the following stages of processing: (a) Where 
the complainant has requested a hearing, to the EEOC Administrative 
Judge when the complaint is under the jurisdiction of the 
Administrative Judge; or (b) Where the complainant has not requested a 
hearing, to the EEOC Office of Federal Operations (OFO) on appeal.
    Where the Administrative Judge or OFO finds that an agency has 
improperly processed the original complaint and that such improper 
processing has had a material effect on the processing of the original 
complaint, the Administrative Judge has the authority to supplement the 
record at the hearing stage, and/or impose sanctions on the agency as 
s/he deems appropriate.
    In some instances, if there appears to a particularly egregious or 
systemic issue with a particular agency, which may have been identified 
by multiple complaints received through complainant correspondence, 
and/or through our independent review of their policies, practices, and 
procedures as revealed by their annual 462 and MD-715 reports, the EEOC 
may select the agency for a Program Evaluation. This evaluation 
involves an intensive review of the agency's EEO practices after which 
we prepare a report documenting our findings on the factors that we 
determine are having a significant impact on the agency's program 
efficiency as well as EEOC's recommendations on how the agency should 
address these findings. Similarly, on occasion, if a complaint presents 
a conflict of interest, or if high-level agency officials are involved, 
the EEOC's Special Services Staff in its Office of Federal Operations 
may undertake an investigation of a complaint if requested by the 
agency where the discrimination allegedly occurred.
    Finally, federal employees or applicants who are not satisfied with 
the outcome of the administrative process may elect to file a civil 
action in an appropriate United States District Court.

                            BRAC IN MARYLAND

    Question. Maryland over the next five years will be undergoing 
tremendous growth due to BRAC. Did EEOC consider this when they decided 
to downgrade the Baltimore office?
    Answer. EEOC was aware of the BRAC recommendations at the time that 
the repositioning plan was developed. EEOC regularly monitors its 
workload and staffing data, both at the national and at the local 
office levels, to identify any shifts or trends in charge receipts and 
resolutions from projected expectations. This monitoring allows us to 
develop needed adjustments to workload through the inter-district 
transfer of charges in the short term and, subject to budgetary 
constraints, by adjusting office staffing levels for the long-term. 
With respect to the Baltimore office, we have been keeping their front-
line staff at close to an optimal level, which should allow them to 
take on additional work resulting from base build-ups in Maryland. In 
January 2006, when we implemented field repositioning, there were 11 
investigators in the Baltimore District Office. Today, we have 12 
investigators in the Baltimore Field Office. The redesignation of the 
Baltimore office as a result of repositioning did not result in fewer 
frontline positions.
    Question. How will EEOC handle this influx of 55,000 new employees 
to Maryland?
    Answer. See response to question 1 above.
    Question. What is EEOC doing right now to plan for this increased 
caseload?
    Answer. See response to question 1 above.
                                 ______
                                 
               Questions Submitted by Senator Tom Harkin

    Question. What percentage of the EEOC cases that have been resolved 
or closed in the last three years originated with the state and local 
agencies?
    Answer. Over the last three years, the state and local agencies 
(FEPAs) have resolved approximately 40 percent of the total combined 
resolutions of dual-filed charges with EEOC and the FEPAs. 
Specifically, the FEPA percentage of overall dual-filed charge 
resolutions during this period was: 40 percent in fiscal year 2004, 
41.3 percent in fiscal year 2005 and 40.5 percent in fiscal year 2006.
    Question. What percentage of callers to the national call center's 
800 number are referred to state and local offices?
    Answer. Slightly less than 2 percent of NCC calls are referred to 
FEPAs. For example, of the 222,350 calls handled by customer service 
representatives during the 7-month period between October 2006 to April 
2007, 4,162 (1.9 percent) were referred to FEPAs.
    Question. Please provide a justification for the agency proposal to 
place over 60 percent of the cuts proposed by the Administration on the 
state and local agencies that have the largest share of the caseload.
    Answer. For fiscal year 2008, the Administration has proposed a 
$997,000 reduction from the fiscal year 2007 enacted level. From the 
enacted 2007 level, the State and local agencies were apportioned $30 
million in 2007 and will receive $28 million (a budget reduction of 
less than 7 percent) under the Administration budget before Congress. 
The budget projections show the EEOC inventory to rise to 67,000 
charges, while the FEPA charge inventory has been dropping and will 
flatten out at around 50,000 charges. The budget proposal seeks to 
provide more funds to EEOC to avoid a worsening EEOC inventory rise. 
The cut in FEPA funds should not change the projected FEPA inventory.
                                 ______
                                 
             Questions Submitted by Senator Lamar Alexander

    Question. How many lawsuits and complaints against employers over 
English language workplace policies has the U.S. Equal Employment 
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed so far this year? How many lawsuits 
and complaints did the Commission file in 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 
and 2001?
    Answer.
Charges
    In the period of fiscal year 2001 to fiscal year 2006, EEOC has 
received charges alleging discrimination on the issue of English-only 
policies as follows:

                                     CHARGE RECEIPTS WITH ENGLISH-ONLY ISSUE
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Fiscal Year--
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                   2001    2002    2003    2004    2005    2006
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Receipts........................................................     154     237     173     184     141     125
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On average, this represents an average of 169 charge receipts per 
year, which equals less than 0.2 percent of receipts (using an average 
of 75,000), a small fraction of our total receipts. Additionally, we 
resolved the following number of charges during this same timeframe:

                                   CHARGE RESOLUTIONS WITH ENGLISH-ONLY ISSUE
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Fiscal Year--
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                   2001    2002    2003    2004    2005    2006
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Resolutions.....................................................     182     218     190     165     189     111
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Of these resolutions, EEOC found reasonable cause to believe 
discrimination occurred in approximately 53 charges, on average, per 
fiscal year. The specific numbers, by fiscal year, are as follows:

                                    CAUSE RESOLUTIONS WITH ENGLISH-ONLY ISSUE
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Fiscal Year--
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                   2001    2002    2003    2004    2005    2006
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cause Resolutions...............................................      59      62      39      47      83      25
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lawsuits
    EEOC has filed one case this fiscal year involving English-only 
policies. In prior fiscal years, EEOC has filed the following cases 
involving this issue:

                                   LITIGATION FILINGS WITH ENGLISH-ONLY ISSUE
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Fiscal Year--
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                   2001    2002    2003    2004    2005    2006
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Filings.........................................................       3       2       2       2       4       2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question. How much money has the EEOC spent to prosecute lawsuits 
and file complaints against employers over English language workplace 
policies so far this year (including staff costs, court fees, etc.)? 
How much did the Commission spend on lawsuits and complaints in such 
cases in 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, and 2001?
    Answer.
Charges
    Of the 169 charge receipts that EEOC receives on average each year, 
the cost of processing these charges is difficult to quantify. However, 
basing our calculations on this six-year average for receipts, these 
charges represent the annual workload of approximately 1\1/2\ 
investigators. Computing out the annual salary, benefits and overhead 
for an investigator, and calculating their time spent on English-only 
charges, the cost would be approximately $250,000.
Lawsuits
    The table below provides cost to EEOC for litigating English-only 
cases.

                                                         LITIGATION COST FOR ENGLISH-ONLY ISSUE
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                     Fiscal Year--
                                                              ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   2001         2002         2003         2004         2005         2006         2007
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Staffing Cost................................................    $6,515.00   $35,394.00   $38,038.00    $7,103.00  $130,804.00  $105,786.00   $54,793.00
Litigation Cost..............................................  $123,026.78   $71,432.00   $24,435.00   $87,062.00   $14,098.63      $399.00  ...........
                                                              ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Total..................................................  $129,542.78  $106,826.00   $62,473.39   $94,165.69  $144,902.63  $106,185.00   $54,793.00
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question. How many small-to-medium sized businesses (under 100 
employees) has the EEOC filed complaints or lawsuits against over 
English language workplace policies this year? How many in 2006, 2005, 
2004, 2003, 2002, and 2001? How many big businesses (100 or more)? How 
many of each category in Tennessee?
    Answer.
Charges
    Of the cause findings issued each year during the past six years, 
the number of those that were issued by the size of the employer is as 
follows:

                           CAUSE RESOLUTIONS WITH ENGLISH-ONLY ISSUE BY EMPLOYER SIZE
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Fiscal Year--
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                   2001    2002    2003    2004    2005    2006
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Cause Resolutions.........................................      59      62      39      47      83      25
15-100 Employees................................................      16      14      14      21      19      11
101-500 Employees...............................................      20      27      13       8      20       5
501+ Employees..................................................      23      19      11      14      39       6
No. of Employees Unknown........................................  ......       2       1       4       5       3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    During this six-year period, there were only three cause findings 
issued to employers in the State of Tennessee. All of these findings 
were issued in a single fiscal year, fiscal year 2001, and were evenly 
split between the three size categories above.
Lawsuits
    EEOC has not filed any cases this fiscal year against small 
employers involving this issue. For prior fiscal years, we have filed 
the following:

            LITIGATION FILINGS WITH ENGLISH-ONLY ISSUE AGAINST EMPLOYERS WITH 100 OR FEWER EMPLOYEES
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Fiscal Year--
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                   2001    2002    2003    2004    2005    2006
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Filings.........................................................  ......       2       1  ......       2       1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    EEOC has filed one case this year against a large employer. In the 
past, we have filed the following:

            LITIGATION FILINGS WITH ENGLISH-ONLY ISSUE AGAINST EMPLOYERS WITH MORE THAN 100 EMPLOYEES
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Fiscal Year--
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                   2001    2002    2003    2004    2005    2006
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Filings.........................................................       3  ......       1       2       2       1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    EEOC has filed no cases against employers in Tennessee involving 
this issue for the period October 1, 2000 to the present.
    Question. How many lawsuits and complaints arising over English 
language workplace policies has the EEOC settled, won, and lost this 
year? How many in 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, and 2001?
    Answer.
Charges
    The number of English-only policy resolutions involving settlements 
include successful conciliations--a component of the cause finding--as 
well as settlements. The annual tallies follow:

                                       SETTLEMENTS WITH ENGLISH-ONLY ISSUE
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Fiscal Year--
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                   2001    2002    2003    2004    2005    2006
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Successful Conciliations........................................      23      22       7      16      25       6
Settlements.....................................................      13      28      26      20      14      18
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
      Total.....................................................      36      50      33      36      39      24
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lawsuits
    EEOC has resolved three cases this fiscal year; all were settled by 
consent decree. In prior years, we resolved the following:

                                 LITIGATION RESOLUTIONS WITH ENGLISH-ONLY ISSUE
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Fiscal Year--
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                   2001    2002    2003    2004    2005    2006
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Consent Decree..................................................       4       1  ......       1       1       3
Settlement Agreement............................................  ......       1       1  ......  ......  ......
Favorable Court Order...........................................  ......  ......  ......  ......       1  ......
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
      Total.....................................................       4       2       1       1       2       3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                 ______
                                 
               Questions Submitted by Senator Ted Kennedy

    Question. I understand that EEOC has undertaken a commitment to 
revitalize systemic litigation. I applaud this effort. However, in 
light of your significant and growing case backlog and the significant 
staff reductions the agency has undergone in recent years, do you 
believe that the Commission has the resources to implement this renewed 
commitment? What other areas will the Commission have to compromise in 
this effort?
    Answer. We believe that in order to combat systemic discrimination 
effectively, the Commission must promote a culture that encourages 
staff to look for, recognize, and investigate systemic discrimination. 
We already have a core group of investigators, attorneys and other 
enforcement staff who have a proven record in this area including many 
significant settlements and conciliations over the years, and in some 
instances, major systemic litigation. We are enhancing this core group 
by adding positions for lead systemic investigators, systemic paralegal 
specialists, and labor economists to support this effort. In addition, 
we are devoting resources to systemic training programs to develop and 
enhance the expertise of existing investigators, attorneys and support 
staff.
    We are able to leverage our existing resources by encouraging 
districts to partner with one another and form a national systemic 
practice along the lines of a national law firm model. This strategy 
allows the Commission to address systemic discrimination effectively 
nationwide while at the same time sharing and building expertise in all 
of our offices.
    We budgeted $213,000 in fiscal year 2006 non-staff funds for 
information technology support for this activity. In fiscal year 2007, 
we have budgeted $150,000 for non-staff costs in the field for this 
activity. The funds were realized when planned new hires did not enter 
on duty within the new hire timeline. These funds will be used to hire 
expert and support services for manipulating systemic data, train staff 
in systemic analysis, and pay for travel expenses for staff to meet on 
systemic cases that involve multiple offices.
    Specifically, in our budget request, we project a slight decrease 
in lawsuit filings compared to previous years, due to a readjustment of 
our docket to include more large class cases. In fiscal year 2006, we 
filed 371 suits, and in fiscal year 2008 we estimate filing 340 suits. 
We anticipate a shift in the size and complexity of cases in our docket 
as the Commission's new Systemic Program produces some larger cases for 
enforcement litigation by fiscal year 2008. Our campaign to 
reinvigorate the systemic program may redirect some resources from 
smaller, individual cases. The Commission understands this potential 
trade-off and believes that it is worthwhile. When done correctly, 
systemic cases can transform whole industries or geographic areas--not 
just the named defendants. They are a way of leveraging the agency's 
limited resources to have the widest possible reach. Thus, we believe 
the Commission has the resources to implement its renewed commitment to 
systemic litigation, without compromising its overall enforcement 
program.
    Question. The National Employment Lawyers Association recently 
released a report containing disturbing findings from a survey that the 
Association conducted about EEOC operations. I was particularly 
troubled by the report's discussion of the problems that members of the 
public have experienced with intake investigations. Potential claimants 
are receiving erroneous advice--e.g., that they cannot file a claim if 
they still have their job, or that they cannot name more than one 
grounds of discrimination in their charge--and this bad advice has 
compromised their rights. In addition, the agency's recent 
reorganization significantly reduced the number of frontline staff, 
particularly intake investigators. You testified at the hearing that 
EEOC's frontline investigators receive only one week of specialized 
training. I know that the agency's employees are dedicated and 
hardworking, but it appears that they do not have the capacity or the 
training to perform their jobs effectively. What steps can the agency 
take to increase the quality of frontline services it provides? Does 
the agency need to implement additional training programs? Do you need 
to hire more frontline investigative staff? How can the quality of 
services be improved without additional resources above and beyond the 
President's budget request?
    Answer. First, I would like to note that when I became Chair in 
September 2006, I met with NELA representatives almost immediately, 
with the goal of beginning a close partnership with them in my new 
role. Since last September, I have maintained an on-going dialogue with 
NELA on many matters and spent two days with NELA representatives at 
the ABA off-the-record meeting in January of this year. As NELA itself 
states in the introduction to its report:

    ``The Chair and the Commissioners have taken affirmative steps in 
seeking NELA's input and feedback regarding EEOC operations. Indeed, 
open dialogue with and encouragement from Chair Earp, Vice Chair 
Silverman, and Commissioners Griffin and Ishimaru were a catalyst for 
NELA conducting the survey which is the subject of this report.''

    Second, I would like to reassure the Committee that the instances 
recounted in NELA's report are not the usual conduct of business at 
EEOC. The survey was sent to 2,500 NELA members with the request that 
they report problems with EEOC rejecting charges. Of those 2,500, 343, 
or 13.7 percent responded. A total of 77, or 3 percent of the members 
surveyed reported drafting a ``discrimination charge . . . that was not 
accepted for filing . . . .'' NELA's survey covered approximately two 
and a quarter calendar years; although our numbers follow fiscal years, 
instead of calendar years, they provide context to consider the numbers 
of complaints that NELA received. During fiscal year 2004-fiscal year 
2006, EEOC received more than a half million inquiries (558,177) and 
took in over a quarter of a million charges (230,628). In light of this 
enormous workload, the instances reported are indeed a small number.
    I want to emphasize that I take NELA's concerns very seriously. As 
a result of discussions with them on intake issues, long before we 
received the survey results, we began setting up an e-mail address to 
enable NELA members to inform us in real time of concerns they have 
with any particular intake session. We notified NELA informally of this 
e-mail address in February and in April formally notified them in a 
letter which they can distribute to their members. We intend to use the 
information provided by NELA members to remedy any situation where an 
individual who wishes to file a charge has encountered obstacles, as 
well as to train and counsel staff on correct intake procedures, when 
necessary. As we receive messages in this mailbox, we will be working 
with the appropriate office to resolve the situation promptly, ensure 
that charging party rights are preserved and that our staff deals 
properly with anyone who initiates intake activity.
    We have also found that face-to-face meetings with stakeholders 
such as NELA are extremely helpful to both sides. For example, when 
NELA representatives in Atlanta informed us in 2005 of problems they 
encountered with filing charges in the Atlanta District Office, our 
Atlanta District Director met with them personally to resolve those 
issues. She then set up quarterly meetings with regional NELA 
representatives, which are on-going to this day. We understand that 
these meetings are well received on both sides and we have encouraged 
our other district directors across the country to meet regularly with 
their regional NELA representatives.
    Of course, there are reasonable differences that our staff have had 
from time to time with charges drafted by private attorneys and some 
charges are reworked. For example, we routinely request that charges 
not include the specific disability on the face of the charge. The 
Americans with Disabilities Act limits the extent to which employers 
can disclose the medical information of employees. Charges are served 
on employers and may go through many hands and be seen by many people 
at the company. We would not want our charge process to produce results 
inconsistent with the statute. Another example is the honest mistake 
that some private attorneys make by naming witnesses to the alleged 
discrimination on the face of the charge. If such charges were taken 
``as-is'' and served on the employer, those witnesses could easily 
become targets for retaliation. Consequently, our staff request that 
the names of witnesses be removed from the charge and provided 
separately to investigators.
    Finally, you should know that EEOC has been working on maintaining 
the overall high quality of our intake process for several years, in 
part through Technical Assistance reviews that our headquarters staff 
conduct of our field offices. In 2005, we set up an Intake Workgroup, 
composed of deputy district directors and district enforcement 
managers, which drafted a proposed uniform intake questionnaire to 
assist the district offices with their intake procedures. We have also 
been working on redirecting staff resources to the intake function to 
allow better development of the allegations included in charges as well 
as the evidence necessary to support those allegations. We anticipate 
additional training for our intake staff sometime in the near future. 
This would augment the initial one-week classroom training provided to 
new investigators that is supplemented with local training conducted in 
each office, on-the- job training, and later advanced classroom 
training.
    We have already given NELA's report to our Technical Assistance 
teams for their review and analysis of the specific problems noted in 
the survey. We will use their recommendations to improve our processes 
as necessary and reduce any such occurrences in the future.
    Question. I am familiar with the findings of the Inspector 
General's report on the ineffectiveness of the Commission's call center 
pilot project. The center has been plagued with operational problems 
and is not serving the public effectively. Even if improvements have 
been made, it is clearly time to reexamine this problematic experiment. 
You have mentioned that there would be increased expense if this 
function were brought in-house, but your estimate of the cost seems 
extremely high. Can you provide for me the basis of your calculations 
about the cost of bringing the call center in-house? Wouldn't the 
Commission's client populations be better served by working with 
experienced EEOC employees when they contact the agency?
    Answer. In September 2006, EEOC asked the National Academy of 
Public Administration (NAPA) to conduct an assessment of the 
requirements to establish an in-house contact center and to provide an 
independent estimate of the costs. NAPA issued a report in January 2007 
that estimated that it would cost an initial $2.3 million to move the 
National Contact Center (NCC) in-house and annual ongoing costs of $5.5 
million; therefore, the first year of operating an in-house contact 
center would be $7.8 million. By comparison, annual on-going costs for 
the contractor-run center costs about $2.5 million. In developing their 
cost estimates, NAPA used comparable staffing, processes, technology, 
and equipment as that used by the NCC. The NAPA estimates took into 
account that the software application, knowledge base, and training 
materials used by the NCC are the property of EEOC under the terms of 
the contract and would not have to be purchased. According to the NAPA 
report, which is available at, ``the staffing estimates are based upon 
a representative month and the metrics currently in place to meet 
service requirements including speed of answer and qualitative 
measures.'' The NAPA estimates also presumed the rental of a stand-
alone facility located in a labor market designated as ``rest of USA.''
    It is important to note that the customer service representatives 
(CSRs) who answer the phones for EEOC are dedicated to the EEOC 
contract, are well-trained to represent EEOC and allow us to present a 
consistent face to the public for 12 hours each work day. This is an 
important service to our client population--to be accessible, at 
convenient hours, and providing accurate information or referrals. A 
report issued by the Claes Fornell International (CFI) Group in May 
2006 indicated the overall Customer Satisfaction Score for the EEOC 
contact center was 77, which is six points higher than the average for 
Federal Government contact centers. This report is accessible on the 
EEOC external website at the following URL: http://www.eeoc.gov/
abouteeoc/oig/reports/ncc/cs_survey.html. In addition, we receive very 
few complaints from our field offices regarding the services provided 
by the contact center. The volume of calls handled by the CSRs, more 
than 38,000 a month (with an average wait time of 30 seconds), could 
not be handled using existing experienced EEOC employees and 
technology.
    A March 2003 survey indicated that 61 percent of the calls to our 
public numbers in the field were for reasons other than potential 
charge filing and could easily be answered by clerical level employees. 
These figures still hold true today in that more than 60 percent of the 
calls coming to the NCC are for reasons other than filing a charge. 
Callers who have questions about filing a charge are pre-screened for 
coverage and mailed an intake questionnaire. Contact center employees 
have been trained to handle the variety of calls coming in to EEOC and 
our EEOC monitors believe they are doing a very good job of collecting 
data, answering questions, and as several field supervisors noted 
recently, ``providing a portal to EEOC.'' The training for customer 
service representatives does not end after the initial two weeks 
(including six days devoted to EEOC content) and also includes on-going 
monitoring and refresher training at least four times each month. The 
CSR's job is to be quickly accessible, to quickly determine the reason 
for the call, and to provide the appropriate level of assistance. Do 
they use scripts to do this? Yes, they do, but they are trained to ask 
appropriate questions to determine which scripts to use and when. These 
same scripts have been shared with all field offices at the request of 
field supervisors. CSRs hold a dialogue with the caller and because 
they are constantly monitored, we are able to follow up on any 
incomplete or incorrect information.
    In order to set up an EEOC-operated contact center, we will have to 
make a significant investment in technology and additional resources to 
provide the same level of service the public is receiving from the 
contract call center. When we used only EEOC employees answering the 
phone, we found we could not adequately do the job without using some 
21st century technology and strategies. Our volume of calls, currently 
over 60,000 per month to the NCC alone, is clear evidence that we need 
to take advantage of industry best practices to meet our customer 
service needs. It is better for our customers that we are making the 
best use of our limited budgetary resources to operate a contract call 
center, because in this way:
  --the caller can be certain of reaching a CSR 12 hours-a-day and only 
        having to wait less than a minute on average to do so;
  --the caller can be assured of getting consistent information, 
        consistent treatment, and consistent service, regardless of 
        whether he or she resides in the country, or what language he 
        or she speaks; and
  --our investigators are able to devote their time to deal with 
        potential charges and investigations rather than handling phone 
        duty of general inquiries, which currently number 60,000 per 
        month.

                         CONCLUSION OF HEARINGS

    Senator Mikulski. We'll look forward to further 
conversations with you as we move ahead. This subcommittee will 
stand in recess, subject to the call of the Chair.
    [Whereupon, at 11:36 a.m., Thursday, May 3, the hearings 
were concluded, and the subcommittee was recessed, to reconvene 
subject to the call of the Chair.]