Federal employees and applicants filed nearly 17,000 complaints of employment discrimination in fiscal year 2011, according to a report released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Annual Report on the Federal Workforce Part I: EEO Complaints Processing for Fiscal Year 2011 assesses federal agencies' EEO complaint processing program statistics. Unlike in the private sector, the federal sector complaint process calls for federal agencies to investigate complaints themselves and, in most cases, issue final determinations on the merits of the complaint. Federal sector complainants have a right to request a hearing before an EEOC administrative judge. They may also appeal the federal agency's final decision on the complaint to the EEOC's Office of Federal Operation (OFO).

The report shows that federal agencies reduced the average number of days to process complaints by 14 days (from 360 in FY 2010 to 346). Federal agencies also reduced the average number of days to process complaints on the merits by 51 days (from 480 to 429). A the same time, agencies increased the number of timely issued decisions on the merits of the complaints by 5% (from 51% to 56%).

Retaliation was the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination (7,553) in FY 2011. Age discrimination was the second most frequent basis of discrimination alleged (5,105). Harassment (non-sexual) was the most frequently alleged issue (5,863 out of 16,974).

Part II of the Annual Report on the Federal Workforce for FY 2011, which reports work force data, including trends in work force composition, will be published later this year.

Read the full report