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May 18, 2021
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today the House passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Representative Conor Lamb (PA-17) and Representative Tracey Mann (KS-1) to lift an outdated employee cap on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) counselors.  Currently, there are fewer than 40 full-time equivalent EEO counselors for a workforce of almost 400,000 employees.  The VA Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor Modernization Act (H.R. 2788) would enable the VA’s Office of Resolution Management, Diversity, and Inclusion (ORMDI) to remove the cap and place additional counselors in the regional offices around the country.

“The number of EEO counselors has been capped since 1997, but it did not stop unequal treatment in the workplace.  The VA is one of the largest federal agencies and consistently has among the most complaints,” said Lamb.  “These counselors are our front line of defense against racism, sex discrimination and other unlawful conduct, and they need reinforcements.”

“The Equal Employment Counseling Modernization Act is another commonsense reform to the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Mann.  “I appreciated working with Representative Lamb on this bipartisan legislation, which would remove the cap of the number of full-time employees providing equal employment opportunity counseling at the Department of VA.  The broad support for this bill shows a willingness by the House of Representatives to implement small, but impactful changes for our veterans across the country and help the VA to employ, educate, care for, guide, and better assist our nation’s heroes.”

VA’s Office of Resolution Management, Diversity, and Inclusion (ORMDI) is responsible for multiple important functions at VA, including resolving workplace discrimination and EEO disputes and leading VA Diversity and Inclusion strategic planning.  VA EEO counselors serve in a range of roles including listener, educator, information gatherer, facilitator, trainer, suggestion maker and de-escalation expert.

H.R. 2788 is supported by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).

Visit Lamb’s website to see him speak on the House floor in support of the VA Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor Modernization Act (H.R. 2788).