WASHINGTON – Congress today will examine discriminatory hiring practices and attitudes in its own back yard – the federal work place.
The House Government Reform and Oversight civil service subcommittee is concerned about the 19,000-plus active discrimination complaints filed by federal workers with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Discrimination in the federal work place can range from what Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., called “good old fashion racism,” like name calling and insulting notes, to unfair hiring practices.
Institutional discrimination keeps minorities out of high paying jobs and positions of responsibility, said Rep. Albert Wynn, D-Prince George’s.
For example, Wynn said only six of 398 senior executives at the Agriculture Department are Hispanic. At the Interior Department, only 38 of 1,159 employees at the highest GS pay grade are black.
The subcommittee also is concerned with work place climate.
Interior Department officials pointed to a case of an employee who received a “certificate” from supervisors that read: “Fer all da good hep that Leland Braggs has done with hees big mussels n assistn hees boss womann with puttin up walls n hookun up kumpooter thangs in da kuppel a munths dat she ben so overwhilmd.”
That case was one of several reported to the civil service panel in its first hearing, which focused not only on discrimination but potential changes to the EEOC complaint system.
Today the subcommittee is expected to hear from more federal employees involved in discrimination complaints and Rep. Charles Canady, R-Fla., who has worked to eliminate federal affirmative action programs.