<
 
 
 
 
>
hide
You are viewing a Web site, archived on 18:35:02 Oct 15, 2004. It is now a Federal record managed by the National Archives and Records Administration.
External links, forms, and search boxes may not function within this collection.
Office of Compliance Seal
Left Menu Bar Contact Information, Get in Touch With Us What's New Archive Proposed Rules and Rulemaking Safety and Health Procedures for Covered Employees Reports and Studies Conducted by the Office The Manual, Your Guide to the Congressional Accountability Act Other Rights Family and Medical Leave Fair Labor Standards Disability Discrimination Age Discrimination Equal Opportunity Employment Organization, Who We Are and What We Do Forms and Publications, A Library of Forms and Publications Decisions, Board of Directors Decisions
Reports and Studies Conducted by the Office

 

OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE
SECTION 301(H) REPORT TO CONGRESS

JANUARY 1, 1999 - DECEMBER 31, 1999

INTRODUCTION

The Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) generally applies provisions of eleven federal labor and employment laws to over 20,000 covered congressional employees and employing offices. The Office of Compliance (Office), an independent agency in the legislative branch, was established by the CAA to administer and enforce the Act and provide a process for the timely and confidential resolution of workplace disputes. Section 301( h) of the CAA requires that the Office of Compliance:

. . . compile and publish statistics on the use of the Office by covered employees, including the number and type of contacts made with the Office, on the reason for such contacts, on the number of covered employees who initiated proceedings with the Office under this Act and results of such proceedings, and on the number of covered employees who file a complaint, the basis for the complaint, and the action taken on the complaint.

This fourth annual report, which provides information for the period from January 1, 1999 through December 31, 1999, begins with a summary of the authority and responsibilities of the Office of Compliance.

OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The CAA establishes the Office of Compliance with a Board of five members, who serve on a part-time basis, and four statutory appointees: the Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director for the Senate, Deputy Executive Director for the House, and the General Counsel. The Office is charged with providing alternative dispute resolution procedures, and adjudicative hearings and appeals for covered legislative branch employees and education and information on the CAA to members of Congress, other employing offices, and employees of the legislative branch. The Office of the General Counsel enforces the provisions of sections 210 and 215, relating to health and safety and public access requirements, including investigation and prosecution of claims under these sections, and periodic inspections to ensure compliance. Additionally, the General Counsel investigates and prosecutes unfair labor practices under section 220 of the CAA.

The CAA applies the rights and protections of provisions of the following eleven labor and employment statutes to covered employees within the legislative branch: title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993; the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938; the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988; the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act; chapter 43 of title 38 of the U. S. Code (relating to veterans' employment and reemployment); the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 relating to public services and accommodations; the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970; and chapter 71 of title 5 of the U. S. Code (relating to federal service labor-management relations).

FOURTH ANNUAL REPORT
JANUARY 1, 1999 - DECEMBER 31, 1999

NUMBER OF CONTACTS RECEIVED BY THE OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE: 482

Employees and employing offices may, at any time, seek informal advice and information on the procedures of the Office and the rights, protections, and responsibilities afforded under the CAA. The office responds to all inquiries on a confidential basis.

482 requests for information from covered employees, employing offices, the public, unions, and the press were made by phone and in person from January 1, 1999 to December 31, 1999. Contacts were as follows:

Employees
296
Employing offices
102
Public
64
Unions
12
Press
8
Total
482

623 calls were made to the Office of Compliance Recorded Information line. In addition, the Office of Compliance website proved to be a frequent and efficient means for covered employees, covered employing offices and the general public to access information on the CAA.

REASONS FOR EMPLOYEE CONTACTS

296 covered employees contacted the Office asking questions under the following sections: (note: Aggregate numbers will not necessarily match category totals as a single contact may involve more than one section or subsection of the CAA, and/ or more than one issue or alleged violation.)

Section
Description
Contacts
201 Rights and protections under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
168
202 Rights and protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
33
203 Rights and protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
68
204 Rights and protections under the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988
0
205 Rights and protections under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act
2
206 Rights and protections relating to veterans' employment and reemployment
4
207 Prohibition of intimidation or reprisal
29
210 Rights and protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 relating to public services and accommodations; procedures for remedy of violations
0
215 Rights and protections under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970; procedures for remedy of violations
6
220 Application of chapter 71 of title 5, United States Code, Relating to Federal service labor-management relations
12
N/A Questions regarding the general application of the CAA
110
N/A Questions on matters which were not cognizable under the CAA
45


The 296 employee contacts were for information regarding:

Assignments
12
Compensatory time off
4
Compensation
16
Demotion
1
Discipline
1
Equal pay
1
Evaluation
3
Exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act
3
General questions regarding statutory requirements
85
Harassment
12
Hiring
16
Hours of work
6
Injury
1
Leave
18
Leave eligibility
1
Overtime pay
19
Promotion
4
Reasonable accommodations
8
Recordkeeping
1
Termination
68
Terms and conditions of employment
32
Requests for written materials
11

NUMBER OF PROCEEDINGS INITIATED BY COVERED EMPLOYEES: 330

Pursuant to title IV of the CAA, the Office of Compliance provides dispute resolution in the form of counseling and mediation. A proceeding under the CAA is initiated by an individual employee's request for counseling alleging a violation of the CAA.1

330 employees from the following employing offices filed formal requests for counseling:

The Architect of the Capitol
311
Capitol Guide Service
0
Capitol Police
3
Congressional Budget Office
1
House of Representatives (not member or committee offices)
3
House of Representatives (member offices)
6
House of Representatives (committee office)
1
Senate (not Senator or committee offices)
0
Senator
4
Senate (committee office)
0
Library of Congress
1
Total
330

1It should be noted that the alleged unlawful application of a single policy of an employing office may involve multiple individual claims.

These 330 requests for counseling alleged violations under the following sections of the Congressional Accountability Act: (Please see note above regarding aggregate numbers.)

Section
Description
Cases
201 Rights and protections under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 334
202 Rights and protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 1
203 Rights and protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 2
207 Prohibition of intimidation or reprisal 18

Workplace issues raised by employees requesting counseling under the CAA fell into the following categories: (Please see note above regarding aggregate numbers.)

Assignments
1
Compensation
13
Discipline
12
Equal pay
287
Harassment
11
Hiring
2
Leave
1
Overtime Pay
2
Promotion
3
Reasonable accommodations
3
Retirement
1
Termination
24
Terms and conditions of employment
5

RESULTS OF THE PROCEEDINGS

COUNSELING

Of the 330 counseling requests received between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 1999, and the 2 pending on January 1, 1999:

  • 7 cases closed during or after counseling, but before mediation
    • 0 settled
    • 7 sought no further action;
  • 7 cases were pending at the end of 1999;
  • 318 requests for mediation were filed.

MEDIATION

318 mediation requests were received between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 1999. In addition, on January 1, 1999 there were 13 cases pending in mediation, and 10 cases which had completed mediation and were in the open period for filing a complaint. Of those 341 cases:

  • 41 cases closed during or after mediation
    • 16 cases were settled
    • in 20 cases, no further action was taken by the covered employee after mediation ended
    • 5 civil actions were filed in District Court;
  • 9 cases were pending in mediation on December 31, 1999;
  • 282 cases had completed mediation and were in the time period when a complaint could be filed;
  • 9 complaints were filed after mediation ended.

COMPLAINTS

If the dispute remains unresolved after counseling and mediation, an employee may elect to file a civil action in the district courts of the United States or to file a complaint with the Office. If a complaint is filed with the Office, a Hearing Officer is appointed to hear the case and issue a decision.

Nine complaints were filed with the Office between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 1999 and one complaint was pending on January 1, 1999.


BASIS OF COMPLAINTS

The complaints filed during 1999 involved the following issues:

  • alleged termination based on national origin
  • alleged harassment based on gender
  • alleged discrimination in assignments and other terms and conditions of employment based on national origin and in retaliation for opposing practices made unlawful by the CAA
  • alleged termination in retaliation for opposing practices made unlawful by the CAA (2 cases)
  • alleged discrimination in terms and conditions of employment based on gender and in retaliation for having used family and medical leave
  • alleged discriminatory treatment in retaliation for initiating proceedings under the CAA
  • alleged termination based on gender and in retaliation for opposing practices made unlawful by the CAA
  • alleged suspension and failure to properly pay an employee in retaliation for opposing practices made unlawful by the CAA

In addition, one complaint alleging a breach of the CAA's confidentiality requirements was heard and decided by a hearing officer. That decision was not appealed.

ACTION TAKEN ON COMPLAINTS

Any party aggrieved by a Hearing Officer's decision may file a petition for review of the decision by the Board of Directors of the Office.

During January 1, 1999 - December 31, 1999:

HEARINGS

  • 9 hearing officer decisions were issued;
  • 4 cases were settled or otherwise resolved before the hearings concluded;
  • 1 complaint was pending, awaiting a decision by the Hearing Officer.

APPEALS

  • 2 petitions for review of Hearing Officer decisions were filed with the Board;
  • 7 Hearing Officer decisions were not appealed and became the final decisions of the Office.

BOARD ACTION

  • 2 Board decisions were issued in 1999;
  • No petitions for review of Hearing Officer decisions were pending on December 31, 1999.

JUDICIAL REVIEW

  • 1 Petition for review was filed;
  • One court decision was issued on a petition for review filed in 1998. The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the Board's decision.

LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS

The Office carries out the Board's investigative authorities under section 220 of the CAA, involving issues concerning the appropriateness of bargaining units for labor organization representation, the duty to bargain, and exceptions to arbitrators' awards.

During January 1, 1999 - December 31, 1999:

  • 11 representation petitions were filed;
  • 4 election agreements were entered into by the parties and approved by the Executive Director on behalf of the Board;
  • 5 elections were conducted. As a result of the elections, five labor organization were certified as bargaining representatives of employees;
  • 6 petitions were pending on December 31,1999: four representation petitions filed by four labor organizations seeking to represent four separate units, totaling approximately 90 employees of an employing office; a representation petition filed by a labor organization seeking to represent a unit of approximately 16 employees, and a unit clarification petition seeking to resolve the unit status of certain employees in a bargaining unit certified in 1997.

THE OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL

The Office of the General Counsel is responsible for matters arising under three sections of the CAA: section 210 - Public Services and Accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; section 215 - Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970; and section 220 - unfair labor practices under chapter 71, of title 5, United States Code.

76 requests for Information and Technical Assistance were made from January 1999 through December 1999 under the following sections:

Section
Description
Cases
210 Public Services and Accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
13
215 Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
57
220 Unfair Labor Practices under chapter 71, of title 5, United States Code
6

From January 1999 through December 1999, the following actions occurred:

Section 210 Charges filed
1
  Cases closed
1
  Cases pending as of December 31, 1999
0
Section 215 Requests for inspections filed
19
  Cases closed
8
  Cases pending as of December 31, 1999
11
Section 220 Unfair Labor Practice charges filed
12
  Complaints issued
1
  Cases closed
6
  Cases pending as of December 31, 1999
6

Disposition of Complaint(s):

Hearing Officer issued an opinion granting the General Counsel's motion for summary judgment; the opinion was not appealed and became a final decision of the Board on December 22, 1999.

 

Questions or comments regarding this service? Contact wwwadmin@compliance.gov.

 
Text Size Link: Extra Large Text Link: Large Text Link: Meduim Text Link: Small Text
   Get PDF version PDF version Get Acrobat Reader