Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
|Formed||July 2, 1965|
|Employees||2,539 (March 2011)|
|Annual budget||$344 million (2009)|
|Website||Equal Opportunity Commission|
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination. The EEOC investigates discrimination complaints based on an individual's race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, genetic information, and retaliation for reporting, participating in, and/or opposing a discriminatory practice.
In 2011, the Commission included "sex-stereotyping" of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals as a form of sex discrimination illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 2012, the Commission expanded protection provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to transgender status and gender identity. In 2015, it concluded that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 doesn't allow sexual orientation discrimination in employment because it is a form of sex discrimination. However, these rulings, while persuasive, are not binding on courts, and would need to be addressed by the Supreme Court for a final decision. The Commission also mediates and settles thousands of discrimination complaints each year prior to their investigation. The EEOC is also empowered to file civil discrimination suits against employers on behalf of alleged victims and to adjudicate claims of discrimination brought against federal agencies.
On March 6, 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925, which required government contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin." It established the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity of which then Vice President Lyndon Johnson was appointed to head. This was the forerunner of the EEOC.
The EEOC was established on July 2, 1965; its mandate is specified under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. The EEOC's first complainants were female flight attendants. However, the EEOC at first ignored sex discrimination complaints, and the prohibition against sex discrimination in employment went unenforced for the next few years. One EEOC director called the prohibition "a fluke... conceived out of wedlock." 
All Commission seats and the post of general counsel to the commission are filled by the President of the U.S., subject to confirmation by the Senate. Stuart J. Ishimaru, a Commissioner who was Senate-confirmed in 2003 and 2006, served as Acting Chair of the Commission from January 20, 2009 until December 22, 2010, when the U.S. Senate confirmed Jacqueline Berrien to be the chairwoman. She had been nominated as chairwoman by President Barack Obama in July 2009. In September 2009, Obama chose Chai Feldblum to fill another vacant seat.
On March 27, 2010, President Obama made recess appointments of three Commission posts: Berrien, Feldblum, and Victoria Lipnic. With the appointments, the Commission had its full complement of five commissioners: Ishimaru, Berrien, Feldblum, Lipnic, and Constance Barker, who was confirmed by the Senate in 2008 to be a Commissioner. Obama also made a recess appointment of P. David Lopez to be the EEOC's General Counsel.
On December 22, 2010, the Senate gave full confirmation to Berrien, Feldblum, Lipnic, and Lopez.
After the departure of Ishimaru, the commission returned to its full complement of five commissioners on April 25, 2013, with the Senate confirmation of Jenny Yang.
Staffing, workload, and backlog
In 1975, when backlog reached more than 100,000 charges to be investigated, President Gerald Ford's full requested budget of $62 million was approved. A "Backlog Unit" was created in Philadelphia in 1978 to resolve the thousands of federal equal employment complaints inherited from the Civil Service Commission. In 1980, Eleanor Holmes Norton began re-characterizing the backlog cases as "workload" in her reports to Congress, thus fulfilling her promise to eliminate the backlog.
In June 2006, civil rights and labor union advocates publicly complained that the effectiveness of the EEOC was being undermined by budget and staff cuts and the outsourcing of complaint screening to a private contractor whose workers were poorly trained. In 2006, a partial budget freeze prevented the agency from filling vacant jobs, and its staff had shrunk by nearly 20 percent from 2001. A Bush administration official stated that the cuts had been made because it was necessary to direct more money to defense and homeland security. By 2008, the EEOC had lost 25 percent of its staff over the previous eight years, including investigators and lawyers who handle the cases. The number of complaints to investigate grew to 95,400 in fiscal 2008, up 26 percent from 2006.
Although full-time staffing of the EEOC was cut between 2002 and 2006, Congress increased the commission's budget during that period (as it has almost every year since 1980). The budget was $303 million in fiscal year 2001 to $327 million in fiscal year 2006. The outsourcing to Pearson Government Solutions in Kansas cost the agency $4.9 million and was called a "huge waste of money" by the president of the EEOC employees' union in 2006.
Race and ethnicity
The EEOC requires employers to report various information about their employees, in particular, their racial/ethnic categories to prevent discrimination based on race/ethnicity. The definitions used in the report have been different at different times.
In 1997, the Office of Management and Budget gave a Federal Register Notice called the "Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity" which defined new racial and ethnic definitions. As of 2007 September 30, the EEO's EEO-1 report must use these new racial and ethnic definitions in establishing grounds for racial or ethnic discrimination. The racial and ethnic definitions are the same as the official definitions on the US Census. If an employee identifies their ethnicity as "Hispanic or Latino" as well as a race, then their race is not reported in EEO-1, but it is kept as part of the employment record.
Investigative Compliance Policy
EEOC adopts the Investigative Compliance Policy which addresses situations where respondents have been uncooperative in providing information during an investigation of a charge. Under this policy, if a respondent fails to turn over requested information, field offices are to subpoena the information, file a direct suit on the merits of a charge, or use the legal principle of "adverse inference" thereby assuming the withheld information is unfavorable to the respondent.
Increase in disability-based charges
In 2008, disability-based charges handled by the EEOC rose to a record 19,543, up 10.2 percent from the prior year, and the highest level since 1995.
EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit
In September 2012, Home Depot agreed to pay $100,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, for the alleged failure to provide a reasonable accommodation for a cashier with cancer at its Towson, Maryland, store and then for purportedly firing her because of her condition.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it received 99,412 private sector workplace discrimination charges during fiscal year 2012, down slightly from the previous year. The year-end data also show that retaliation (37,836), race (33,512), and sex discrimination (30,356), which includes allegations of sexual harassment and pregnancy were the most frequently filed charges.
Additionally, the EEOC achieved a second consecutive year of a significant reduction in the charge inventory, something not seen since fiscal year 2002. Due to a concerted effort, the EEOC reduced the pending inventory of private sector charges by 10 percent from fiscal year 2011, bringing the inventory level to 70,312. This inventory reduction is the second consecutive decrease of almost ten percent in charge inventory. Also this fiscal year, the agency obtained the largest amount of monetary recovery from private sector and state and local government employers through its administrative process — $365.4 million.
In fiscal year 2012, the EEOC filed 122 lawsuits, including 86 individual suits, 26 multiple-victim suits, with fewer than 20 victims, and 10 systemic suits. The EEOC's legal staff resolved 254 lawsuits for a total monetary recovery of $44.2 million.
EEOC also continued its emphasis on eliminating systemic patterns of discrimination in the workplace. In fiscal year 2012, EEOC completed 240 systemic investigations which in part resulted in 46 settlements or conciliation agreements. These settlements, achieved without litigation, secured 36.2 million dollars for the victims of unlawful discrimination. In addition, the agency filed 12 systemic lawsuits in fiscal year 2012.
Overall, the agency secured both monetary and non-monetary benefits for more than 23,446 people through administrative enforcement activities - mediation, settlements, conciliations, and withdrawals with benefits. The number of charges resolved through successful conciliation, the last step in the EEOC administrative process prior to litigation, increased by 18 percent over 2011.
Some employment-law professionals criticized the agency after it issued advice that requiring a high school diploma from job applicants could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. The advice letter stated that the longtime lowest common denominator of employee screening must be "job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity." A Ballard Spahr lawyer suggested "[t]here will be less incentive for the general public to obtain a high school diploma if many employers eliminate that requirement for job applicants in their workplace."
The EEOC has been criticized for alleged heavy-handed tactics in their 1980 lawsuit against retailer Sears, Roebuck & Co. Based on a statistical analysis of personnel and promotions, EEOC argued that Sears was systematically excluding women from high-earning positions in commission sales, and was paying female management lower wages than male management. Sears counter-argued that the company had in fact encouraged female applicants for sales and management, but that women preferred lower-paying positions with more stable daytime working hours, as compared to commission sales which demanded evening and weekend shifts and featured drastically varying pay. In 1986, the court ruled in favor of Sears on all counts, noting that the EEOC had not produced a single witness who alleged discrimination, nor had the EEOC identified any Sears policy that discriminated against women.
Luther Holcomb, 1965-1974
Aileen Hernandez, 1965-1966
Vicente T. Ximenes, 1967-1971
Samuel C. Jackson, 1965-1968
Richard Graham, 1965-1966
Elizabeth Kuck, 1968-1970
Ethel B. Walsh, 1971-1980
Colston A. Lewis, 1970-1977
Raymond L. Telles, 1971-1976
J. Clay Smith, 1978-1982
Hon. Daniel Leach, 1976-1981
Armando Rodriguez, 1978-1983
Cathie Shattuck, 1982-1983
Tony E. Gallegos, 1982-1994
R. Gaull Silberman, 1984-1995
Joy Cherian, 1987-1993
William Webb, 1982-1986
Fred Alvarez, 1984-1987
Evan J. Kemp, Jr., 1987-1993
Joyce Tucker, 1990-1996
Reginald E. Jones, 1996-2000
|No.||Chair of the EEOC||Picture||Start of Term||End of Term||President(s)|
|1||Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr.||May 26, 1965||May 11, 1966||Lyndon Johnson|
|2||Stephen N. Shulman||September 14, 1966||July 1, 1967||Lyndon Johnson|
|3||Clifford J. Alexander, Jr.||August 4, 1967||May 1, 1969||Lyndon Johnson|
|4||William H. Brown, III||May 5, 1969||December 23, 1973||Richard Nixon|
|5||John H. Powell, Jr||December 28, 1973||March 18, 1975||Richard Nixon|
|Acting||Ethel Bent Walsh||1975||1975||Gerald Ford|
|6||Lowell W. Perry||May 27, 1975||May 15, 1976||Gerald Ford|
|Acting||Ethel Bent Walsh||May 1976||May 1977||Gerald Ford|
|7||Eleanor Holmes Norton||May 27, 1977||February 21, 1981||Jimmy Carter|
|Acting||J. Clay Smith, Jr.||1981||1982||Ronald Reagan|
|8||Clarence Thomas||May 6, 1982||March 8, 1990||Ronald Reagan|
|9||Evan J. Kemp, Jr.||March 8, 1990||April 2, 1993||Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
|Acting||Tony Gallegos||1993||1994||Bill Clinton|
|10||Gilbert Casellas||September 29, 1994||December 31, 1997||Bill Clinton|
|Acting||Paul Igasaki||1998||1998||Bill Clinton|
|11||Ida L. Castro||October 23, 1998||August 13, 2001||Bill Clinton|
|12||Cari M. Dominguez||August 6, 2001||August 31, 2006||George W. Bush|
|13||Naomi C. Earp||September 1, 2006||2009||George W. Bush|
|Acting||Stuart J. Ishimaru
||January 20, 2009||April 7, 2010||Barack Obama|
|14||Jacqueline A. Berrien||April 7, 2010||September 2, 2014||Barack Obama|
|15||Jenny R. Yang||September 2, 2014||present||Barack Obama|
- ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA)
- Equal Pay Act of 1963
- Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations
- Pregnancy discrimination
- Race and ethnicity (EEO)
- Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964
- "EEOC Budget and Staffing History". Archives. EEOC.gov. May 12, 2009.
- "Types of Discrimination".
- "Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation, Status as a Parent, Marital Status and Political Affiliation". Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- "EEOC Request No. 0520110649". Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- "Macy v. Department of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821". Retrieved February 28, 2013.
- Carpenter, Dale (2012-12-14). "Anti-gay discrimination is sex discrimination, says the EEOC". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- Tatectate, Curtis. "EEOC: Federal law bans workplace bias against gays, lesbians, bisexuals | Miami Herald Miami Herald". Miamiherald.com. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- See "42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 - Unlawful Employment Practices". and "42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3 - Other Unlawful Practices".
- In addition, the EEOC, the Departments of Labor and Justice, the Civil Service Commission and the Office of Revenue Sharing have adopted Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures to assist employers in complying with federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. "Uniform Guidelines On Employee Selection Procedures". Retrieved February 2, 2010.
- wikisource – Executive Order No. 10925
- 29 U.S.C. 621 et seq., as amended
- Gail Collins (14 October 2009). When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present. Little, Brown. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-0-316-07166-6.
- The will of the people: how public ... – Google Books. Books.google.com. September 29, 2009. ISBN 9780374220341. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
- "42 U.S.C. § 2000e-4 - Equal Employment Opportunity Commission".
- "Nominations PN845-110 and PN1029-108". Thomas (Library of Congress). Retrieved February 2, 2010.
- Press Office (July 16, 2009). "President Obama Announces Pick to Head Equal Employment Opportunity Commission".
- Press Office (September 14, 2009). "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts".
- "President Obama Announces Recess Appointments to Key Administration Positions | The White House". Whitehouse.gov. 2010-03-27. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
- "Enforcing the Civil Rights Act: Fighting Racism, Sexism and the Ku Klux Klan. The Story of the Miami EEOC's First Class Action Trial." James Keeney, 2012 Civil Rights Publishing, Sarasota, FL
- Lee, Christopher (June 14, 2006). "EEOC Is Hobbled, Groups Contend: Case Backlog Grows as Its Staff Is Slashed, Critics Say". Washington Post.
- Vogel, Steve (March 31, 2009). "EEOC Willfully Violated Pay Law, Arbitrator Rules". Washington Post. p. A15.
- "Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity"
- Final Revisions of the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) by the EEOC. The page contains links to FAQs, forms and instructions
- The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "Race/Color Discrimination". August 15, 2007. We may use this for the purpose of race and ethnicity 
- The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "National Origin Discrimination." 2007. August 15, 2007. 
- "Ability Magazine: BAD BOYS - EEOC Tackles Job Discrimination" (2009)". Retrieved 2012-04-05.
- "Home Depot to Pay $100,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit". The National Law Review. U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 2012-09-10. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
- "Enforcement and Litigation Statistics". Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- Dave Boyer (1 January 2012). "EEOC: High school diploma requirement might violate Americans with Disabilities Act". Washington Times.
- EEOC v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 628 F. Supp. 1264 (N.D. Ill. 1986) (Sears II).
- Possley, Maurice (1986). Sears Wins 12-year Fight Over Bias Chigago Tribune 04 February 1986. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "Jacqueline A. Berrien Becomes Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission". U.S. Senate Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2010-11-16.
- "President Appoints Jenny R. Yang EEOC Chair". Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved 2014-09-19.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.|
- Official website
- Proposed and finalized federal regulations from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Role of Equal employment opportunity commission
- nytimes.com, discusses the fairly recent case involving allegations against Bloomberg unfairly treating pregnant women. Bloomberg won because of a lack of statistics on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's part. However, it is still possible for the federal government to appeal and the witnesses can individually sue Bloomberg for discrimination.