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Milestones: 1979

  • In United Steel Workers of America v. Weber, the Supreme Court holds that private sector employers and unions may lawfully implement voluntary affirmative action plans to remedy past discrimination. The Court holds that an employer and union do not violate a collectively bargained plan by reserving 50 percent of the slots in a training program in a traditionally segregated industry for black employees. The program is lawful because it does not "unnecessarily trammel the interests of white employees," does not "create an absolute bar to the advancement of white employees," and is "a temporary measure . . . not intended to maintain racial balance, but simply to eliminate a manifest racial imbalance."
  • EEOC issues Affirmative Action Guidelines providing employers information on how to undertake voluntary affirmative action.
  • EEOC implements a new method for processing discrimination charges filed by members of the public -- Rapid Charge Processing. Under this new method, the agency encourages the charging party and the respondent to negotiate quick "no fault" settlement agreements. Where parties fail to reach such agreements, the agency fully investigates the charges. Rapid Charge Processing results in large numbers of settlements and EEOC begins to sharply reduce the number of charges (approximately 100,000) awaiting investigation.

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