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Federal Employees News Digest : Aug 26, 2013
August 26, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 6 5 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com Hispanics' federal ranks grow, but representation gap remains The 2012 presidential election showed that Hispanic voters are playing a larger role in American politics. In the same vein, a new Office of Personnel Management report shows that Hispanics are becoming bigger players in the federal workforce. The number of Hispanics employed by the federal government in fiscal 2011 grew 2.6 percent, to 157,693 from 153,740 the previ- ous year. That means Hispanics now account for 8.1 percent of the federal workforce, according to OPM's Eleventh Annual Report to the President on Hispanic Employment in the Federal Government. Although overall hiring was down in the federal government, Hispanics accounted for 6.7 percent of new hires in fiscal 2011, up from 6.3 percent of the previous fiscal year. The Department of Homeland Security was the largest employer of Hispanics, employing 37,966 Hispanic employees. That is not to say Hispanic federal employees should not worry about race, color or national origin discrimination, which are pro- hibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Hispanics remain grossly underrepresented in the federal workforce---more so than in 2000 when President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13171, which sought to "improve the representation of Hispanics in Federal employment." Back then, Hispanics accounted for 6.4 percent of the federal workforce, according to the order. Meanwhile, the Census Bureau reported that Hispanics that year accounted for 12.5 percent of the U.S. population. By 2010, Hispanics' share of the U.S. population grew to 16.3 per- cent, according to a Census Bureau report, but they only accounted for 8 percent of the federal government's workforce that fiscal year. The representation gap was even wider at the higher levels of govern- ment employment, where Hispanics accounted for only 4.1 percent of the Senior Executive Service in fiscal 2011, according to the OPM report. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case Daniel Padilla v. United States Postal Service (2008) illustrates some of the challenges Hispanics face in the federal government. It involved a Mexican-American carrier technician who filed a complaint of unlawful discrimination on the bases of race (Hispanic), national ori- gin (Mexican-American), color (light brown), and reprisal for prior equal employment opportunity activity. In his complaint, he alleged that he had been subjected to a hostile work environment for a three- year period, which ultimately culminated in a Notice of Removal. In fact, the technician asserted that, over the course of three years, his supervisor had repeatedly and consistently subjected him to such comments as "Go back to the border," and "If you were in Mexico, you wouldn't have a job like this." Given that the nature of his supervisor's comments hinged on the technician's status as a man of Mexican national origin, as opposed to his race or color, the EEOC found that indeed, the agency discriminated against the employee on the basis of his national origin. In so holding, the commission required the agency to, among other things, make an offer to reinstate him to his position or a substantially similar one, with back pay, and train the offending supervisor. Hispanic employees may be able to assert multiple bases of dis- crimination in a complaint, as the employee in Padilla did. Hispanic federal employees who believe they have been subjected to national origin, race or color discrimination should immediately contact a federal employment law attorney. By Mathew B. Tully, Esq. Mathew B. Tully is the founding partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC. He concentrates his practice on representing military person- nel and federal employees and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule a meeting with one of the firm's federal employment law attorneys, call 202-787-1900. The information in this column is not intended as legal advice.
Aug 19, 2013
Sep 2, 2013