5 things to know about USA TODAY’s investigation of discrimination within EEOC

5 things to know about USA TODAY’s investigation of discrimination within EEOC

5 things to know about USA TODAY’s investigation of discrimination within EEOC

What do you do if you experience workplace discrimination? You report it to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the government agency charged with routing out workplace discrimination, right?

So what if you experience workplace discrimination WHILE you’re working at the EEOC?

USA TODAY published an investigation this week about discrimination allegations from employees of the agency charged with routing out workplace discrimination: the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Here are five key points:

  • More than a dozen current and former EEOC employees in the commission’s Dallas office told USA TODAY they had been unfairly passed over for promotions, disciplined, scrutinized, denied training opportunities, given poor evaluations or forced to resign — often under what they call a pretext of lackluster performance.
  • Black employees described being disciplined for things as trivial as parking in the wrong places or addressing corporate attorneys by their first names. Some investigators said they told leaders at the agency’s headquarters about their own allegations of discrimination, but those complaints went nowhere or led to retaliation.
  • Patonia Rhule – a current EEOC investigator – was reprimanded, then suspended, after writing #BlackLivesMatter in an email to 100-plus coworkers. Another investigator, Richard Reinhart, an openly gay Iraq war veteran, was fired days after filing a discrimination complaint with headquarters.
  • In 2017, Andrew Leonard, another current investigator, asked for time off to receive electroshock therapy to treat major depression, a protected disability under federal law. A manager approved it, records show. But when he returned to work after weeks of recovery, the agency moved to fire him before deciding to instead suspend him without pay for going AWOL.
  • Internal EEOC data obtained by USA TODAY suggest the Dallas district’s workplace issues have spilled into how it handles investigations of employers on the outside as well. Between 2015 and 2019, Black workers in the area – which includes San Antonio, El Paso and parts of New Mexico – have formally filed more than 7,100 racial discrimination claims with the agency. The district investigated and substantiated the claims in 13 of those cases, or about one in 550.

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This post originally appeared here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2021/04/29/dispute-over-black-lives-matter-messages-eeoc-rankles-employees/4871984001/

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