Renewed Commitment to Education, Outreach and Technical
During the 1980s, EEOC renewed and expanded its education,
outreach, and technical assistance efforts to encourage voluntary
compliance and improve service to protected groups. The
Commission's original emphasis on these activities had been
severely curtailed when agency resources were redirected to charge
processing and enforcement during the latter part of the l970s. In
1984, to encourage compliance with its laws, the Commission began
conducting seminars on EEO laws and responsibilities for employers
with fewer than 500 employees. EEOC field staff provided
interpretations of Commission policy and procedures as well as
court decisions, and answered employers' questions. By 1985, field
offices had conducted 111 seminars with nearly 6,000 participants.
Seminars increased yearly, reaching a peak of 142 EEOC-sponsored
seminars in 1987.
In addition, EEOC expanded its educational efforts with trade
associations. Most notably, EEOC sponsored in 1987 a six-hour
television satellite seminar, available at 55 sites across the
country. The seminar opened with a taped message from the
President, and then followed with an interactive discussion on
employment discrimination issues between commissioners and EEOC
staff and more than 4,500 industry and government representatives.
Videotapes of the seminar were distributed to many other
In an effort to enhance customer service to protected workers in
under-served areas, EEOC launched an "expanded presence" program.
Under this program, field offices sent staff teams throughout the
year to targeted locations to provide information, conduct
counseling, and receive charges of discrimination. Another
important outreach effort was the establishment of a toll free
number, 1-800-USA-EEOC, which would enable callers from anywhere in
the country to be connected directly to the field office serving
their area. By calling this telephone number, callers could receive
informational messages on various employment discrimination topics
in both English and Spanish. In its first three years of operation,
nearly 100,000 people called this number for information.
Despite a strong commitment to technical assistance, budget
reductions following the Gramm-Rudman Act of 1987 again forced EEOC
to reallocate resources to charge processing and enforcement
activities. By the end of the 1980s, the Commission's education,
outreach, and technical assistance efforts were largely reduced to
participating in workshops, seminars, and other programs, as
invited by other organizations.
Next: End of 1980s Leaves
EEOC to Face New Challenges