Monday, April 06, 2009

EEOC Violated Federal Pay Law, Rules Arbitrator

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has willfully violated federal pay laws with its own employees on a nationwide basis, an arbitrator has ruled.

The EEOC is responsible for ensuring that the nation's workers are treated fairly. But its practice of offering compensatory time off to its employees, rather than overtime pay, amounted to "forced volunteering" and was a knowing violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the ruling. The EEOC does not enforce the FLSA.

The ruling comes as the EEOC handles an "unprecedented" level of discrimination charges, according to The Washington Post: "In 2008, the EEOC received more than 95,400 charges of job bias in the private sector, up 26 percent from 2006. But over the past eight years the EEOC has lost about 25 percent of its staff, including investigators and lawyers who handle the cases." The EEOC may be required to pay back wages to employees.

The union representing EEOC employees said the decision lends credence to its frequent complaint that the EEOC is understaffed and overworked, according to the Post. For more information see Steve Vogel's article in The Washington Post.

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