GENERAL COUNSEL ISSUES GUIDANCE ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE AND EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY MATTERS
January 26, 1999 · PR 101-99
Contact: Patty Reilly
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 informatio