SSA still discriminates and owes employees, finds EEOC


The Social Security Administration still discriminates against black male employees at its Baltimore headquarters and may end up paying another multi-million dollar settlement because of that discrimination, says the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In a Dec. 18 ruling (.pdf), the EEOC reaffirmed a 2011 decision that says SSA failed to comply with a 2002 class-action discrimination settlement, which called for performance bonuses, appropriate promotions and new practices.

Carlton Hadden, director of the EEOC's Office of Federal Operations, writes that SSA needs to retroactively pay all black men employed at SSA headquarters from April 2003 through September 2005 the average amount of bonuses and pay increases given to the headquarter workforce as a whole during that time.

An administrative judge from the EEOC Baltimore field office will hold a final hearing to determine the final award, though they are expected to use the method prescribed by Hadden.

The original suit, which gained class-action status in 1998, said black men were discriminated against by the SSA for bonuses, promotions, performance awards and in reviews. The agency agreed to pay $6.35 million and to establish new non-discriminatory procedures for employment and advancement.

"There is no evidence these new procedures… were actually ever implemented," writes Hadden.

The plaintiffs' law firm says the ruling will cost SSA millions of dollars and can impact more than 2,000 present and former employees.

The agency declined to comment beyond saying it will make its case against the ruling before an administrative judge, though the hearing date has not yet been set.

For more:
- download the ruling (.pdf)

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