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Number: DAO 215-4
Effective Date: 2009-07-21


.01 This Order sets forth Department of Commerce (“the Department”) policies and requirements for affirmative programs of equal employment opportunity and related activities.

.02 This revision changes the title of this Order and reflects changes in Department administrative requirements and those contained in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Management Directive 715.


This Order is prepared pursuant to the authorities and functions assigned to the Office of Civil Rights in Department Organization Order 20-10. It applies to the Office of the Secretary and all operating units.


The Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 addresses the problem of employment discrimination in the Federal Government. The overriding objective of this DAO is to ensure that all employees and applicants for employment enjoy equality of opportunity in the federal workplace regardless of race, sex, national origin, color, religion, disability or reprisal for engaging in prior protected activity. This statute and subsequent legislation results in requirements for the development of affirmative programs of equal employment opportunity (also known as “affirmative employment programs”).

This DAO is prepared pursuant to Section 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 e-16; Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1978, issued pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 901 et seq.; Executive Order 11748; and Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by Pub. L. 99-506, 100 Stat. 1807, October 21, 1986.


It is the policy of the Department to provide equal opportunity in employment for all persons (including applicants for employment) without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability; to promote continuing affirmative programs of equal employment opportunity; and to ensure that management and human resources policies, practices, and procedures are non-discriminatory in intent and impact.


.01 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program. The EEO Program encompasses efforts to provide fair and equitable treatment for employees and applicants for employment. Specific efforts include the elimination of employment barriers, and affirmative employment measures to recruit, employ, advance, and retain members of EEO groups which are employed at less than representative levels in the workforce of the Department, or any of its component organizations.

.02 EEO Group. A term which refers to members of race and national origin groups by sex, i.e., White males, White females, Black or African American males, Black or African American females, Hispanic/Latino males, Hispanic/Latino females, Asian males, Asian females, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander males, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander females, American Indian or Alaska Native males, and American Indian or Alaska Native females. For purposes of this Order, persons with disabilities will be considered members of EEO groups.

.03 Representation. A term which denotes parity between an EEO group's employment percentage in a Departmental organization, and the group's corresponding percentage in the civilian labor force, or other appropriate measure of the group's presence in the Nation's labor force. If a group is employed in the workforce of a Departmental organization at less than its corresponding rate in the civilian labor force or any other appropriate benchmark, it is not fully represented.

.04 Affirmative Employment Programs. Any program established in a federal agency pursuant to federal legislation, executive orders, and/or administrative regulations that address equal employment opportunity.

05. Barriers. A barrier is an agency policy, principle, or practice that limits or tends to limit employment opportunities for members of a particular sex, race, or ethnic background, or based on an individual’s disability status. Barrier removal is vital to achieving the common goal of making the Federal Government a model employer.


.01 Responsibilities of the Secretary include:

a. Approving Department-wide affirmative employment programs and objectives;

b. Ensuring that Secretarial Officers, heads of operating units, and employees in the Senior Executive Service are held accountable for achievement of affirmative employment requirements and objectives; and

c. Issuing annual EEO and anti-harassment policy statement; and

d. Providing sufficient resources and systems for administration of the Department's affirmative employment programs.

.02 Responsibilities of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration (CFO/ASA) include:

a. Approving policies, directives, and other materials on the Department's affirmative employment programs;

b. Reporting to the Secretary on the status of affirmative employment programs within the Department;

c. Ensuring that affirmative employment objectives are designed to remedy identified problem areas; and

d. Fulfilling, on behalf of the Secretary, those responsibilities in paragraph 6.05 of this Order which require employment at the operating unit and Office of the Secretary levels.

.03 Responsibilities of the Director for Human Resources Management include:

a. Enforcing policies and procedures to ensure that:

1. Personnel programs and operations are non-discriminatory;

2. Data contained in the Department's personnel file(s) are accurate and secure; and

3. Affirmative employment program goals and objectives receive appropriate support.

b. Informing executives and managers of Department policy and requirements for affirmative employment programs.

.04 Responsibilities of the Department's Director of Civil Rights include:

a. Developing policies, directives, and guidance on the Department's affirmative employment programs;

b. Informing executives and managers of Department policy and requirements for affirmative employment programs;

c. Clearing written responses to external requests for information about the Department's affirmative employment programs. Such information may apply to the Department or any of its component organizations;

d. Providing assistance to operating units on the preparation, implementation and monitoring of affirmative employment programs, reports, and related activities;

e. Developing policies and program guidance for EEO training, and identifying problems in management and supervision attributable to inadequate EEO training;

f. Conducting on-site evaluations to periodically assess the status of operating unit affirmative employment programs, and the effectiveness of Department policy and program guidance; and

g. Reviewing operating unit affirmative employment programs and reports to ensure they are consistent with EEOC and Departmental instructions.

.05 Responsibilities of Heads of Operating Units include:

a. Approving the operating unit Management Directive 715 Report;

b. Integrating development and implementation of the affirmative employment program goals and objectives, and activities to improve employment of persons with disabilities;

c. Developing and implementing activities to improve the employment, development, and retention of all EEO groups, especially those that are underrepresented with other internal management systems, e.g., budget and performance management process;

d. Identifying and developing methods to remove barriers that are causing underrepresentation;

e. Providing sufficient resources, including data processing support, for affirmative employment programs development, implementation, and monitoring;

f. Fostering an environment that supports the objectives of affirmative employment programs;

g. Appointing a Principal EEO Official who will be the primary point of contact on equal employment opportunity issues.

.06 Responsibilities of Principal EEO Officials include:

a. Informing executives and managers of Departmental policy, and Departmental and operating unit requirements for affirmative employment programs;

b. Overseeing administration of affirmative employment programs within the operating unit and its components;

c. Consulting with personnel officers and management officials to identify barriers to the employment of any EEO group, and to develop strategies for overcoming barriers and implementing such programs;

d. Preparing affirmative employment program attendant reports, and other information which the Department's Office of Civil Rights will use for preparation of the Management Directive 715 Report;

e. Submitting reports and other information described in subparagraph "d" above, first to the head of the operating unit for approval, then to the Department's Office of Civil Rights;

f. Evaluating the effectiveness of affirmative employment program efforts within the operating unit and, if appropriate, its components;

g. Promoting an accountability system for supervisors and managers which emphasizes positive affirmative employment results;

h. Ensuring that employees with full-time, part-time or collateral duty affirmative employment program responsibilities are:

1. Knowledgeable about affirmative employment programs;

2. Qualified to perform assigned duties;

3. Adequately trained to carry out specific responsibilities; and

4. Provided with sufficient resources to satisfactorily perform such responsibilities.

.07 Responsibilities of Principal Human Resources Managers include:

a. Employing recruitment strategies, and other support activities which facilitate the achievement of affirmative employment objectives for client organizations;

b. Working with managers, supervisors, and EEO officials to achieve affirmative employment objectives;

c. Maintaining a system or process to identify probationary supervisors;

d. Verifying that probationary supervisors have completed required EEO training, or have demonstrated competency in EEO before completion of the probationary period;

e. Making special efforts to provide reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities and applicants for employment;

f. Ensuring that accurate data on employees are contained in the Department's automated personnel file; and

g. Ensuring that all qualification requirements, including selective placement factors and rating criteria, are appropriate for the position and do not present barriers to the employment of any EEO group.

.08 Responsibilities of Managers and Supervisors include:

a. Being knowledgeable about affirmative employment program requirements;

b. Incorporating affirmative employment objectives in performance plans, as appropriate;

c. Informing human resource specialists or other designated outreach and recruitment personnel of the need to emphasize searching for a diversity of applicants to establish a balanced workforce;

d. Considering affirmative employment objectives when staffing positions in employment categories that are not fully represented by groups covered by affirmative employment programs;

e. Using special appointment authorities, when appropriate, to ensure that the Department of Commerce has a diverse workforce;

f. Ensuring that probationary supervisors meet EEO training or competency requirements before certifying that probationers have satisfied such requirements; and

g. Making special efforts to provide reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities.


The head of each operating unit shall ensure that:

a. Affirmative employment programs, reports, and activities for persons with disabilities are prepared consistent with guidance from the Department's Office of Civil Rights;

b. The focus of such programs and activities are directed towards improving the employment of groups which are represented at less than desirable levels;

c. Managers and supervisors use the full complement of special employment programs, special appointment authorities, and training to further the aims of affirmative employment programs, e.g., Student Educational Employment Program, Federal Career Intern Program; Leadership Development Programs; Presidential Management Fellows Program, Selective Placement and supervisory training; and

d. Equal employment opportunity, human resources management, and management officials work cooperatively to achieve the objectives of affirmative employment programs.


This Order supersedes Department Administrative Order 215-4, dated April 30, 1990.

Signed by: Director of Civil Rights

Approved by: Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration

Office of Primary Interest: Office of Civil Rights

Questions and Comments

Send Questions or Comments on the Commerce Directives Management program to Directives@doc.gov.

Office of Privacy and Open Government
Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce


April 7, 2010