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Delimiting EEOC rule on union reps called “outrageous and hypocritical”

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2021 | Federal Employment Law

It’s “a reasonable rule that will bring clarity and efficiency” to a spotlighted labor law issue, says one Republican-nominated commissioner from a key agency.

Actually, it’s anything but that, counter opponents of a recent rule change announced by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

That adjustment works this fundamental change: Federal workers filing discrimination complaints will now be significantly limited in their ability to enlist the aid of union representatives in EEOC hearings.

Prior to last week’s rule announcement, the commission allowed employees pursuing grievances to use a “reasonable amount of official time.” In doing so, they were allowed to be advised or accompanied by a union rep.

That allowance will now be materially curtailed. The new rule excludes the involvement of select union members, specifically any individual serving as an “officer, steward or otherwise in an official capacity.”

The rule has been a lightning rod for impassioned criticism in varied quarters since it was first proposed shortly more than a year ago.

Multiple dissenting EEOC commissioners have expressed deep discontent with the change. One of them recently called out the rule for being “on the wrong side of history.” Another stated that the move’s effect will greatly discourage union reps’ participation and that the change has always been promoted “to advance the current administration’s anti-union posture.”

Principals from both the National Treasury Employees Union and the American Federation of Government Employees have expressed similar sentiments. AFGE President Everett Kelley states that the new delimiting mandate will “create roadblocks for federal workers who raise internal discrimination complaints.”


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