USIA's Office of Civil Rights is proud of its record of resolving complaints before they reach the formal stage. During FY-97, OCR received 320 informal complaints from employees alleging discrimination. We were able to resolve 270 at the informal stage, thereby achieving a resolution rate of 84% for FY-97. We are happy to share the good news that in the FEDERAL SECTOR REPORT ON EEO COMPLAINTS AND APPEALS, published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, among seventy-four reporting federal agencies USIA ranked tenth highest in its ability to reach early resolution of complaints.

In FY-97, the most frequent issue claimed by Complainants was non-selection or non-promotion. The most common complaint basis alleged under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was as follows:

Basis Numbers
GENDER 28 (seven were male and 21 were female)
AGE 10

Some of the complaints had more than one basis of discrimination (age and gender, for example). How are these complaints resolved? Through the efforts of the collateral EEO Counselors (i.e. USIA employees who have volunteered and subsequently received training by OCR) and OCR's EEO Specialists, we attempt to seek resolution of the complaints to the satisfaction of all parties involved. If we are successful, the case is closed during this initial phase. However, if resolution cannot be achieved, the Complainant has the right to choose to file a formal complaint.

Sometimes we find that what is initially perceived as a discriminatory situation is essentially a communication gap between the Complainant and his or her supervisor. In other instances, there might be a deficiency in an employee's or a manager's skills which could be easily addressed by training or counseling. Strained manager/employee relations are best resolved as soon as a problem arises, rather than being allowed to fester.

OCR would like to see harmonious working relationships at USIA. For this reason, OCR strongly encourages all managers to use our offices and training programs so that we are able to achieve early complaint resolutions. If you have a situation in your office that might result in a Complaint being filed, do not hesitate to come to OCR to discuss the matter. OCR has an Open Door policy for all USIA employees and supervisors.

Return to: The Civil Rights Connection