This week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission granted preliminary approval for a negotiated settlement in a class action complaint here at the Goddard Space Flight Center. Goddard and the Class representatives reached this settlement by using mediation to achieve the most constructive and expeditious outcome. Because of likely media coverage, and because I have been personally involved in bringing this matter to closure, I want to share my views with you on the settlement.

This settlement resolves a nearly 10 year old class action complaint filed against the Center by African American, non-managerial scientists and engineers concerning opportunities for promotions at the upper grades. This settlement was reached by a team of employees representing management and the complainants, both of whom dedicated large amounts of time and energy to what were at times challenging negotiations. In the end, I am satisfied with the outcome, because not only does it provide some measure of compensation to the complainants, the settlement also creates a framework for proceeding in a positive way with a review and modification of our human resource systems and procedures that I believe will benefit the entire Goddard community.

The details of the financial settlement will be available in a variety of other communications. I want to focus here on the non-monetary side of the agreement. In general, the agreement calls for a review of our human management system – including promotion practices, training, individual performance plans and evaluations and alternative dispute resolution processes. This review will be conducted by independent experts. I intend to use the experts’ recommendations as
a means of remedying any underlying discrepancies and ensuring that all employees are treated fairly and given equal access to promotion and development opportunities.

You will hear more details about this topic, including details of the financial settlement, from a press release, formal announcements and internal communications via the Goddard web page and brown bag lunch forums. I encourage you to participate and become involved. The people of the Goddard Space Flight Center have accomplished a great deal to make it a great NASA Center. All of us working together, we will make it even better.

A. V. Diaz