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OVERSIGHT HEARINGS ON FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT
OF EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY LAWS
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 1975
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 9:30 a.m., pursuant to notice, in room 2261 (Rayburn House Office Building), Hon. Augustus F. Hawkins (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Members present: Representatives Hawkins, Clay, and Buchanan.
Staff members present: Susan D. Grayson, staff director; David C. Ruffin, legislative assistant; William Higgs, legislative assistant; Carole Schanzer, clerk; and Christopher T. Cross, minority legislative associate.
Mr. Hawkins. The Subcommittee on Equal Opportunities is called to order. I will just read a brief opening statement.
I wish to thank Chairman Hampton, Commissioner Andolsek, and the members of the Civil Service Commission staff for being present at this hearing.
The purpose of this hearing is to examine the role of the Civil Service Commission in the enforcement of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972. These pieces of legislation are rooted in one of the finest traditions of our democracy—that of full citizen participation. They insure the right all Americans have an equal opportunity to participate in the mainstream of employment regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The Civil Service Commission has an essential role in the extension of this right.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 mandates to the Commission responsibility to eliminate discrimination in Federal employment through appropriate remedies. Heads of Federal agencies are required to comply with Civil Service Commission rules, regulations, orders, and instructions aimed at carrying out programs of affirmative action. These are to include programs that provide for the maximization of opportunity so that employees can reach their highest potential. The Commission was authorized to take aggressive measures to carry out its responsibilities.
In the 3 years since the Equal Employment Opportunity Act was passed, we find that employment gains for minorities and women are minimal. About 341,000 women, approximately 25 percent of all white
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collar employees and about 116,000 minorities or one-half of all minority white collar employees are in 17 low-paying occupations. These include clerk-typist, secretary, nursing assistant, and guards. However, in the professional occupations, minorities and women are very poorly represented. While minorities have come under heavy investigation in recent years by Federal agents, they number only 902 or 4.6 percent of the 19,501 criminal investigators. While all wage earners pay taxes, minorities and women represent only 7.2 percent and 6.3 percent respectively of the 14,677 Internal Revenue agents that collect those taxes. Minorities occupy only 17 managerial positions in the entire Federal Government.
These figures do not represent full participation in Federal employment. They do not indicate that minorities and women have an equal opportunity to achieve their highest potential in Government jobs.
If equal employment opportunity is to work in this country, the U.S. Government must take the lead by creating a representative bureaucracy in all occupations, at all levels, and in all agencies.
This hearing is only the beginning of a continuing effort by this subcommittee to oversee the Civil Service Commission's progress toward reaching a truly representative bureaucracy.
At this time, I would like to call on the other members of the subcommittee who may wish to make a statement. Mr. Buchanan.
Mr. BUCHANAN. I would simply join in welcoming Chairman Hampton and the other witnesses this morning. We will listen carefully to them.
Mr. HAWKINS. Mr. Clay. Mr. Clay. No statement, Mr. Chairman. Mr. HAWKINS. Then, we are very glad, Mr. Hampton, and it certainly is a privilege for me to welcome you and your associates to this hearing. As I have indicated, it is the beginning of a series of hearings. We have listened to representatives of the other departments, and it certainly is a pleasure for us to have you before us this morning at this time. You may proceed. We do have your written statement which you may read or deal with as you so desire.
Mr. HAMPTON. Thank you very much. STATEMENT BY CHAIRMAN ROBERT E. HAMPTON, U.S. CIVIL SERV.
ICE COMMISSION, ACCOMPANIED BY LUDWIG J. ANDOLSEK, COMMISSIONER; ANTHONY HUDSON, DIRECTOR OF FEDERAL EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY; AND IRVING KATOR, ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE COMMISSION
Mr. HAMPTON. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, we appreciate the opportunity to appear before the Subcommitte on Equal Opportunities to testify on the role of the Civil Service Commission in assuring equal employment opportunity in the Federal Government. Commissioner Andolsek is here with me today. Also with me is Mr. Irving Kator, Assistant Executive Director of the Commissioner; and Mr. Anthony Hudson, Director of Federal Equal Employment Opportunity.
Under section 717 of title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Civil Service Commission is given responsibility to assure that all person
nel actions affecting employees or applicants for employment are free from any discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Also, the law requires agencies to submit equal employment opportunity plans of action to the Commission, and provides for appeals to the Commission and the courts from final actions of agencies or the Commission on discrimination complaints. Section 717 also incorporates Executive Order 11478, issued in 1969. This order sets forth specific requirements for the implementation of strong programs of affirmative action in Federal agencies. The law does not diminish in any way the responsibility or the agency heads to assure equal employment opportunity in Government organizations. They have a legal responsibility in this regard.
The role of the Commission is to enforce the law and to provide direction to Federal agencies to assure equal employment opportunity in all aspects of personnel operations. We do this in a variety of ways, including the issuance of regulations and orders to agencies, review of agency equal employment opportunity plans, establishing training programs, monitoring a complaints system, handling appeals on allegations of discrimination, making onsite reviews of agency operations, gathering and publishing data on employment of minorities and women in the Federal Government, and taking action with agencies based on these and other reports.
THE MERIT SYSTEM AND EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
In addition to section 717, the Commission administers the Civil Service Act which requires that appointments be based solely on merit and fitness. It follows that appointments on the basis of merit and fitness must be made without regard to a person's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and thus the merit principle and equal employment opportunity are synonymous in concept and compatible in operation. When decisions are made on the basis of the individual's ability to do the job and other factors are eliminated, then we have merit principles and we have equal opportunity; they are simply different sides of the same coin. We believe affirmative action carried out within the context of the merit system has produced an equitable employment system for the Federal Government, and it is a system in which minorities and women are continuing to make significant progress.
STATISTICAL EVIDENCE OF PROGRESS
There is evidence, we believe, of progress in assuring equal employment opportunity in the Federal Government. In May 1974, 21 percent of total Federal employment was minority. While total Federal employment has decreased in recent years, the number of minority employees has increased. Thirty-four percent of all white-collar workers are women. But even more important, there are increasing numbers of minorities and women in the mainstream of Federal operations and in positions of leadership and responsibility. While not without problems, the picture here is an encouraging one with gains being made since the enactment of the Equal Employment Act of 1972.
The results of broad-range upward mobility programs implemented throughout Government are reflected in our statistical reports. While the percentage of minority employees at the lowest grade levels has dropped since 1971, the number and percentage of minorities in the higher grade levels has increased, in some cases very significantly. For example, at the GS-7 level of the general schedule which pays a starting salary of $10,520, the number of minority employees has increased from 16,000 to over 20,000, or from 14.4 percent of total employment at that level to 17 percent. In GS-9 positions with salaries starting at $12,841, employment of minorities has gone from 15,700 to approximately 18,500, with the percentage increasing from 10.5 percent in 1971 to 12.9 percent in 1974.
The same pattern of progress is apparent in the higher level jobs. For example, there were less than 7,000 minorities at the GS-12 level in 1971, and there were over 9,000 in 1974 with the minority percentage at this grade level increasing from 5.4 percent to 7 percent. Similar gains are shown at those levels immediately below the very top or "supergrade” levels. Employment at the GS-14 level went from under 2,000 to 2.500, and at GS-15—where salaries extend to the $36,000 per annum ceiling—from 1,000 to over 1,400, with the percentages at these grade levels increasing from 4.1 percent to 5.2 percent, and from 3.6 percent to 5 percent respectively. There have also been changes in the supergrade levels where the percentage of minorities at the GS-16 level is 4.1 percent; at the GS-17 level, 3.6 percent; and at the GS-18 level, 4 percent.
The numbers at these supergrade levels are, however, still small. We recognize there is a problem area here, and it is being tackled. We have confidence that as the pipeline at the GS-14 and 15 levels includes more minorities and women, there will be a natural opportunity for movement into the supergrade levels for such persons, since most of these positions are filled from within the service.
A pattern in the employment of women appears which is similar to that of minorities, with decreases occurring in employment at the lower grade groupings and increases, both numerically and percentagewise, occurring at the higher levels. For example, at grades GS-7 to 12, women have moved from 132,000 jobs in 1968 to over 155,000 jobs in 1973, or from 19.7 percent of persons at these grade levels to 23.4 percent. At the GS-13 level and above, the number of women has moved from 6,400 in 1968 to over 9,000 in 1973 or from 3.7 percent to 4.5 percent.
Needless to say, we are not satisfied with these figures. We believe that the skills of women and minority groups as well, need to be better utilized at the higher grade levels and the efforts of the Federal women's program and our overall equal employment opportunity efforts are directed to this end.
President Ford issued a letter to the heads of departments and agencies on March 6, 1975, in which he called attention to the needs for strong affirmative actions for women and minorities at the GS-13 and above grade levels, pointing out that minorities and women must be given an equal opportunity to serve in leadership positions.
FEDERAL WOMEN'S PROGRAM
One of the matters on which the subcommittee inquired was the Federal women's program. This is a special action program within the overall equal opportunity effort, to assure that special attention is given to equal employment opportunity for women. As a part of the Commission's equal opportunity organization, there is an Office of Federal Women's Program, headed by a Director. Her responsibility is to assure understanding and consideration of the particular needs and problems of women in all personnel management decisions and activities, and to assure that strong affirmative actions are directed toward employment and promotion of women. This Office has responsibility for providing advice and guidance to agencies. Agencies have been directed to establish Federal women's program coordinators, either on a full- or part-time basis, whose duties are to advise the Directors of Equal Employment Opportunity on the special employment needs of women.
We are working with agencies to devise innovative outreach recruitment plans to assure that women are made aware of the variety of jobs in the Federal Government and are included in recruitment searches. We need to assure that once hired, women are provided the same training and advancement opportunities as men at all levels of Government. At the lower grade levels our upward mobility program is effective in restructuring jobs and establishing bridge positions and training programs, so that women and other persons can move into technical and professional occupations. At the higher grade levels we are working to assure that any artificial barriers to opportunities for women are removed. Equal opportunity plans submitted by agencies include special action items directed to meet the particular problems of women in the employment situation.
Through publications, through training programs, through the work with coordiators, through meetings with agency heads, and through a variety of other means, we keep the spotlight on the concern for equal opportunity for women. While the Federal Government is ahead of the private sector in percentages of women in a number of professional occupations, we believe there is much room for improvement. Women must be accepted totally in key policy positions, in top management, in middle management, and in all professions. We are trying to create an environment to foster achievement of these objectives.
Mr. Chairman, if I might depart from my written statement here just a moment. The idea occurred to me, your committee has a broad responsibility also in the field of education. I think one of the greatest deficiencies is—I mean, who is it that provides the raw material that goes into the job market—it is our school system, both, I think, in lower levels of education and higher levels of education, and the counseling that goes into encouraging people to take certain kinds of courses, and I think that one of the deficiencies that has been evidenced, in preparing people for the world of work is that more efforts, I think, have to go into improving the quality of education, particularly I think for minorities, and I think in terms of the counseling of women to go into the kinds of occupations that are more representative in the job market, so that may be something that can be taken up on another committee, since it is the employment we are dealing with on the other end of the spectrum.
Mr. HAWKINS. I certainly agree with you and appreciate that suggestion. However, I must, in all honesty, confess we are having more difficulty in that direction than we are in other directions, and I am