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Abstract: The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the agency charged with investigation of non-criminal complaints of civil rights-related violations in the U.S. workplace, including racial and gender discrimination. This case describes the agency's efforts to reform its internal procedures so as to deal with a staggering backlog of complaints--nearly 100,000--and up to 19-month waits for resolution. It focuses on key strategic decisions which must set the stage for greater efficiency--particularly the issue of whether every complaint must be processed in the same manner, of whether the agency should find ways to concentrate its effort on complaints judged somehow to be more significant.
Learning Objective: The case can be used in a public management course to encourage students to evaluate the different courses of action taken by the EEOC to resolve its inefficiency problem while maintaining its agency's mission to eliminate employment discrimination.