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OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE SECTION 301( H) REPORT TO CONGRESS

JANUARY 1, 1997 - DECEMBER 31, 1997

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 of government, was established in 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 filed a complaint, the basis for the complaint, and the action taken on the complaint.

This second annual report provides information for the period from January 1, 1997 through December 31, 1997. The report begins with a summary of the authority and responsibilities of the Office of Compliance.

OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE AUTHORITY & 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, as well as 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 Board is required to adopt substantive regulations for implementation of certain provisions of the CAA. The Executive Director is required to adopt rules governing the procedures of the Office. 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.)

SECOND ANNUAL REPORT
JANUARY 1, 1997 - DECEMBER 31, 1997

NUMBER OF CONTACTS RECEIVED BY THE OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE: 1439

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.

1439 requests for information from covered employees, employing offices, the public, unions, and the press were made by phone and in person from January 1, 1997 through December 31, 1997. Contacts were as follows:

Employees

501

Employing offices

263

Public

69

Unions

12

Press

11

Recorded information line

583

REASONS FOR EMPLOYEE CONTACTS

501 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

211

202

Rights and protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

50

203

Rights and protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938

105

204

Rights and protections under the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988

1

205

Rights and protections under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act

1

206

Rights and protections relating to veterans' employment and reemployment

0

207

Prohibition of intimidation or reprisal

14

210

Rights and protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 relating to public services and accommodations; procedures for remedy of violations

1

215

Rights and protections under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970; procedures for remedy of violations

4

220

Application of chapter 71 of title 5, United States Code, Relating to Federal service labor-management relations

29

N/A

Questions regarding the general application of the CAA

87

N/A

Questions on matters which were not cognizable under the CAA

11

The 501 employee contacts were for information regarding:

Assignments

11

Belo contracts

4

Benefits

1

Compensatory time off

10

Compensation

13

Demotion

4

Discipline

15

Evaluation

3

Exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act

23

General questions regarding statutory requirements

120

Harassment

37

Hiring

28

Hours of work

9

Interns

2

Layoff

1

Leave

50

Leave eligibility

4

Notice posting

1

Overtime pay

30

Promotion

13

Reasonable accommodations

15

Reassignment

5

Recordkeeping

3

Reinstatement

5

Rulemaking

1

Scheduling

10

Termination

44

Terms and conditions of employment

38

Requests for written materials

26

NUMBER OF PROCEEDINGS INITIATED BY COVERED EMPLOYEES: 152

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

152 formal requests for counseling were filed by employees from the following employing offices:

The Architect of the Capitol

77

Capitol Guide Service

0

Capitol Police

42

Congressional Budget Office

2

House of Representatives (non-member or committee offices)

8

House of Representatives (member offices)

8

Senate (non-Senator or committee offices)

11

Senate (member offices)

4

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

These 152 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

134

202

Rights and protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

4

203

Rights and protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938

30

207

Prohibition of intimidation or reprisal

24

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

Assignments

23

Classification

2

Compensatory time off

1

Compensation

63

Demotion

1

Discipline

10

Harassment

19

Hiring

11

Hours of Work

27

Layoff

1

Leave

5

Overtime Pay

28

Promotion

16

Reasonable accommodations

13

Reinstatement

1

Retirement

1

Termination

27

Terms and conditions of employment

7

RESULTS OF THE PROCEEDINGS

Counseling

Of the 152 counseling requests received between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 1997, and the 29 counseling requests pending on January 1, 1997,

Mediation

157 mediation requests were received between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 1997. In addition, on January 1, 1997 there were 5 cases pending in mediation, and 8 cases which had completed mediation and were in the open period for filing a complaint. Of those 170 cases,

Complaints and Hearings

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.

Complaints

6 complaints were filed between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 1997 and 2 complaints were pending on January 1, 1997

Basis of Complaints

The complaints filed during 1997 involved the following issues:

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.

HEARINGS
APPEALS
BOARD ACTION
JUDICIAL REVIEW

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.

January 1, 1997 - December 31, 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.

JANUARY 1, 1997 - DECEMBER 31, 1997
REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

Section

Description

Cases

210

Public Services and Accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

60

215

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

89

220

Unfair Labor Practices under chapter 71, of title 5, United States Code

23

 

Total Requests

172

REQUESTS FOR INSPECTION, CHARGES FILED WITH THE GENERAL COUNSEL

Section 210

Cases filed

0

 

Cases closed

0

 

Cases pending as of December 31, 1997

0

Section 215

Requests for inspections filed

22

 

Cases closed

10

 

Cases pending as of December 31, 1997

12

Section 220

Unfair Labor Practice charges filed

18

 

Cases closed

10

 

Cases pending as of December 31, 1997

8

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