Problems with Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures Need To Be Resolved

Gao ID: FPCD-77-54 February 2, 1978

The Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinating Council, consisting of the Secretary of Labor, the Attorney General and the chairpersons of the Civil Service Commission, Civil Rights Commission, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or their respective delegates, was established in 1972 to coordinate federal equal employment opportunity enforcement efforts. Early in 1973, the Council set out to develop and adopt uniform guidelines for determining the proper use of tests and other selection procedures consistent with the equal employment opportunity requirements of federal law. After 5 years, this work is still not completed.

Longstanding disagreements on guideline requirements have arisen among the member agencies of the Council. Their views have differed on the legal and technical standards for judging the proper use of tests, and they perceive their mandates differently and have pursued different operating responsibilities. The Council lacks authority to compel member agencies to change their policies and guidelines or to adopt new ones in the interest of developing uniform positions on matters relating to equal employment opportunity. Other important unresolved issues include: (1) eliminating misunderstandings about what the federal guidelines require employers to do; (2) obtaining financial and professional resources to put the guidelines into practice; (3) getting consistent agency interpretation and enforcement of uniform guidelines; (4) evaluating the costs and benefits of guidelines and their effect on selection decisions and minority and female employment patterns; and (5) reconciling the competing social values of individual merit and group equality.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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