EEOC Office of Legal Counsel staff members wrote the following informal discussion letter in response to an inquiry from a member of the public. This letter is intended to provide an informal discussion of the noted issue and does not constitute an official opinion of the Commission.
Title VII: Coverage
This responds to your November 10, 2004, letter to Chair Cari M. Dominguez concerning the job-protection rights of members of the National Guard and Reserve. Chair Dominguez has asked this office to reply directly to you.
As you know, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or Commission) enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e. That law prohibits labor organizations, employers with fifteen or more employees, and employment agencies from discriminating against applicants and employees on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
Although Congress provided the EEOC with Title VII enforcement authority, it did not empower the Commission to broaden the law's reach. As a result, the EEOC does not have authority to expand Title VII coverage to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of membership in the National Guard or Reserve. Only Congress can expand Title VII coverage by amending the statute itself.
If you have not already done so, you may wish to share your concerns about enforcement of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act with the United States Department of Labor at the following address:
U.S. Department of Labor
Veterans' Employment and Training Service
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room S-1325
Washington, D.C. 20210.
This has been an informal discussion of the issues you raised and does not constitute an official opinion of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. I hope that you find this information helpful.
Assistant Legal Counsel
This page was last modified on April 27, 2007.
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