DearColleague.us

Letter

Sending Office: Raskin, Jamie
Sent By:
Martha.Sanchez@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

Deadline: COB TODAY, February 6th 

Cosigners:  Beyer, Bishop, Brown, Brownley, Bustos, Cohen, Connolly, Crist, Eshoo, DelBene, DeFazio, Garamendi, Garcia, Grijalva, Hastings, Jayapal, Kildee, Larsen, L. Lawrence, Barbara Lee, Jackson Lee, A. Levin, Lynch, Meng, McCollum,
McGovern, Norton, Omar, Pingree, Pocan, Rush, Schakowsky, Adam Smith, Speier, Suozzi, Tlaib, Torres, Vargas, Wasserman Schultz and Susan Wild

Dear Colleague:

Please join me in opposing a recently proposed rule by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that would make it more difficult for federal workers to obtain effective representation if they need to go through the employment
discrimination complaint process. 

The proposed rule would undermine the rights of federal employees by changing a longstanding regulation granting a “reasonable amount of official time” to all federal employees who act as representatives for their colleagues in preparing a discrimination
complaint and responding to related agency requests for information.[1]

The EEOC proposes to create an exception to this rule, excluding from the official time requirement representatives who serve as an “officer, steward, or otherwise in an official capacity in a labor organization” in preparation of EEOC discrimination complaints.[2]

This proposed rule is yet another assault by the Trump administration on our federal workforce, civil servants, unions, and labor protection laws. It undermines the rights of federal workers to a fair equal employment opportunity process and harms the overall
mission of the EEOC. Federal employees should be able to continue to choose the representatives they prefer, and that choice should continue to include their union representative. 

Please join me in sending a comment letter to the EEOC expressing our strong opposition to this proposed rule. To sign on to this letter, please complete this form by COB Thursday, February 6th.  For questions,
please contact Martha Sanchez of my staff at Martha.Sanchez@mail.house.gov.

Very truly yours,

Jamie Raskin

 


[1]
29 C.F.R. § 1614.605(b).

[2]
84 Fed. Reg. 67683 (Dec. 11, 2019) (online at
www.federalregister.gov/d/2019-26545
).

______________

 

Dear Chair Dhillon:

We write to express our strong opposition to the proposed rule, “Official Time in Federal Sector Cases before the Commission, RIN No. 3046-AB00.”

Under longstanding regulations, federal agencies are required to grant a “reasonable amount of official time” to all representatives when they assist coworkers in the process of preparing complaints of employment discrimination and responding to agency requests
for information.[1] 
The proposed rule would create an exception, excluding from the official time requirement representatives who serve as an “officer, steward, or otherwise in an official capacity in a labor organization.”[2]

The proposed rule would undermine the rights of federal employees and harm the mission of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the equal employment opportunity process.

First, the proposed rule would undermine the right of federal employees “to be accompanied, represented, and advised by a representative of complainant’s choice.”[3]

The right of representation has been a requirement that federal agencies are obligated to uphold.  Under current regulation, if a discrimination complainant chooses a union representative who also works at her agency, then the agency
must give both the complainant and her representative official time while they participate in the employment discrimination complaint process.

The effect of the proposed rule would be to subject the right of representation to a manager’s personnel decision: 
whether or not to grant annual leave to the complainant’s union representative.   Subjecting a complainant’s representative to the discretion of a manager clearly undermines the right of representation that the regulations require.

Second, the proposed rule undermines the efficiency and effectiveness of the equal employment opportunity process.

Over the past 40 years, complainants have often chosen co-workers who serve in an official capacity with the union to represent them in the employment discrimination complaint process.  These representatives are federal workers who volunteer to serve with
the union. 

Through their repeated experience with the equal employment opportunity process, union representatives gain helpful knowledge.  They understand the technical details of the complaint process — the timelines, particular requirements and protocols.  They
share that knowledge with the complainant, for whom the complaint process is new and unfamiliar.  As a result, complainants can make more effective use of the process that Congress authorized and the EEOC administers when they receive representation from union
representatives. 

The proposed rule, because it would deny the official time requirement for union representatives, would also deny the experience and expertise that union representatives offer to discrimination complainants.  The loss of their experience and expertise will
negatively affect the equal employment opportunity process, which will become less efficient and effective as a result.

Third, the proposed rule undermines the mission of the EEOC.  The proposed rule  would increase both the number of complainants who lack adequate representation, and the financial costs to complainants, who may feel it necessary to hire private counsel to
replace the union representation that they received under current rules.  Both consequences undermine the mission of the EEOC.

Therefore, we respectfully request that the EEOC reject the proposed rule.  Federal employees should continue to be able to choose the representative they prefer, and that choice should continue to include union representatives.   

Very truly yours,

 

Jamie Raskin

             Member of Congress

 

 

 


[1]
29 C.F.R. § 1614.605(b).

[2]
84 Fed. Reg. 67683 (Dec. 11, 2019) (online at www.federalregister.gov/d/2019-26545).

[3]
29 C.F.R. § 1614.605(a).

 

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