What We See When Dealing With Agencies
During the course of working with employees, we have the opportunity assist them with MSPB, EEOC, arbitration, ULP’s, grievances, requests for information, and even OSC matters. Subsequently, we also have the opportunity to deal with a number of federal agencies. We collectively ranked them and determined the following agencies, in the order presented, ranked among the “absolute worst” or “most difficult to work with.” We encountered significant issues with these agencies including, outright obstruction of EEO process, intentionally creating confusion in the EEO process, misinforming employees of appeal rights, failing to inform employees of appeal rights, refusing to answer phone calls, misinforming employees of deadlines, outright lying or omission, providing false testimony (later proved to be false), wrongly applying probationary period, just to name a few of issues.
We recognize within agencies there are wide variances of experiences. For example, every agency has both good and bad EEO Counselors, EEO Program Managers and ELR Specialists. This ranking is not intended to argue this is not the case. Instead, it reflects our direct experience in specific circumstances involving one or more clients.
Worst Ranked Federal Agencies
- Health & Human Services / Indian Health Service: The Indian Health Service (PHX) is the absolute worst organization to such a level, the entire management team at IHS / PHX should be investigated and a special prosecutor appointed (this includes an extremely incompetent HR/ELR group). Our client ultimately chose to resign than deal with this agency. We initially did not believe the claims of the employee until we witnessed first hand the gross incompetence, negligence, and malfeasance. If you need a job, and this agency is your only option, we suggest you panhandle instead. In all our years, we never witnessed an agency so devoid of ethics. It’s a black hole. There is a big gap between this agency and the next worst.
- Department of Labor / Wage and Hour Division: In this case, it was not the agency in as much as the union that was the problem. Despite some ethical and well meaning union representatives, the union leadership is simply unresponsive to the needs of members. Their delay would have forfeited the appeal rights of an employee had we not intervened. For the Agency part, they proposed a removal in probationary status but rendered a decision as outside probationary status. That is really basic stuff far too simple to screw up.
- Department of Homeland Security / U.S. Border Patrol: Arrogance is the one word that could best describe this agency. While consulting with a high-level Border Patrol Agent, we ran into an agency in a perpetual state of confusion surprisingly devoid of any autonomous authority. Border Patrol management officials at the sector level of field operations are simply powerless to resolve disputes, but display an incredible level of arrogance despite their lack of authority. Every action by a Border Patrol manager appears to require prior approval from Headquarters and a layer of legal counsel. Furthermore, they appear to use a shared service center concept for both HR, ELR, and EEO, resulting in a significant disconnect between HR and EEO consultants and local management officials.