GENERAL COUNSEL ISSUES GUIDANCE ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE AND EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY MATTERS

 

FLRA NEWS


FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY · WASHINGTON, DC · 20424
January 26, 1999 · PR 101-99
Contact: Patty Reilly
202-482-6500

GENERAL COUNSEL ISSUES GUIDANCE 
ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE 
FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS
STATUTE AND EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY MATTERS

General Counsel Joseph Swerdzewski today issued guidance to the FLRA Regional Directors regarding the relationship between the rights and obligations under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and their application to employment matters concerning equal employment opportunity (EEO). Regional Directors are frequently required to make decisions on the merits of unfair labor charges where the subject matter of the dispute involves the EEO process. The memorandum serves as guidance to the Regional Directors in investigating, resolving, litigating and settling unfair labor practice charges where there are EEO implications. It also is intended to assist parties in improving their labor-management relationship by avoiding litigation and facilitating collective bargaining.

"The Statute must be applied to EEO matters in a manner which accommodates the rights of individuals under EEO laws and the rights and obligations of agencies and unions under the Statute" said General Counsel Swerdzewski. "I am making this Guidance Memorandum available to the public to assist union officials and agency representatives in working together to develop productive labor-management relationships, to avoid unfair labor practice, negotiability and contract disputes over EEO matters, and to obtain a better understanding of the relationship between the Statute and the EEO laws."

The Guidance describes how rights and obligations under the Statute are applicable to EEO matters and processing EEO complaints, and where appropriate, suggests strategies to avoid unfair labor practice and contract disputes from arising in the context of processing of an EEO complaint. In particular, the Guidance discusses that many EEO matters in the Federal service are within the scope of bargaining under the Statute, noting particularly alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs and EEO case processing procedures. The Guidance also explores the duty to bargain over changes in conditions of employment that are made as a result of terms contained in an EEO settlement agreement, identifies the situations where a union has an institutional right to be represented at meetings where EEO complaints are the topic of discussion, and explores a union's right to EEO related information under section 7114(b)(4) of the Statute, the relationship between protected statutory activity and processing EEO complaints, and the responsibilities that the Statute imposes upon an exclusive representative when representing an employee as the union in an EEO complaint and when otherwise representing the bargaining unit in EEO matters. To assist the parties in recognizing these rights and obligations and their application, attached to the Guidance is a chart summarizing the statutory rights covered by this Guidance and their application to EEO complaints and other EEO matters.

The FLRA is an independent agency that administers the labor-management relations program for 1.9 million federal employees worldwide, 1.1 million of whom are exclusively represented in more than 2,200 bargaining units. The Office of the General Counsel is the independent investigative and prosecutorial component of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) which processes unfair labor practice charges and representation petitions through the Regional Offices, and assists parties in improving their labor-management relationship. The General Counsel periodically issues guidance to the Regional Directors to provide leadership in promoting productive labor-management relationships in the Federal sector. The General Counsel, Joe Swerdzewski, directs the FLRA's seven Regional Offices located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

A copy of the Executive Summary is attached. The Guidance will be available at the FLRA Web Site, or it may be requested by fax to the Office of the General Counsel at (202) 482-6608 or by letter to 607 14th St., NW, Ste. 210, Washington, D.C. 20424 Attention: "The Statute and EEO Matters." Written requests should include your name, title, organization, address, telephone and fax numbers and the name of the guidance you are requesting. Questions or comments concerning this Guidance should be directed to FLRA Deputy General Counsel David Feder at (202) 482-6680, extension 203.

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