News and Insights


January 17, 2020

All federal agencies are required by law to develop a competitive, highly qualified workforce that uses all workers’ talents, ensuring that all personnel actions are made free of any discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex or disability; and to have an affirmative program of equal employment opportunity (EEO) for all employees and applicants for employment.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC Commission) is charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws. It has adjudicatory responsibilities in the federal EEO complaints process and has oversight responsibility for those legally required programs.

Many Questions for Agencies

Well, that sounds daunting!

As an agency looking to build a compliant program, where do you start? What must be included in this program? Who are the major stakeholders? If you currently have a program, how do you know if your program is compliant, on track with governing laws and regulations?

Legal Requirements

The answers to these questions lie in first thoroughly understanding what is legally required for a model EEO Program and then devising the best collaborative approach for how you will accomplish those requirements.

The EEOC has the ‘what’ part covered.

The Commission issues management directives (MD) and guidance on all aspects of the legally mandated programs. As an example, MD 715 provides comprehensive policy guidance and standards for establishing and maintaining an effective affirmative program of equal employment opportunity (Section 717 of Title VII) and an affirmative action program (Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act). This directive outlines program requirements around these essential elements of a model program:

  • demonstrated commitment from agency leadership
  • integration of EEO into the agency’s strategic mission
  • management and program accountability
  • proactive prevention of unlawful discrimination
  • efficiency
  • legal responsiveness and legal compliance

Agency Commitment and Compliance

As articulated in MD-715, agencies must begin by making a firm commitment to the principles of equal opportunity and making those principles a fundamental part of agency culture. To be compliant, your program must be more than the annual submission of a few reports and complaints processing.

GovStrive can help with the ‘how’ part of building a legally compliant program. We work with agencies to sort through EEOC’s program requirements. Shaping a strategic vision for the program is the critical next step and our subject matter experts, with over 30 years of experience, can assist in the development of a plan of action that will make that vision a reality.