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EEOC Approves Model to Help Indian Tribes Fight Job Discrimination

WASHINGTON--The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has unanimously approved a model plan that will help Indian tribes partner with the EEOC to combat employment discrimination, the agency announced today.

The EEOC's Model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) may be entered into by EEOC District Offices and individual Indian tribes. Each MOU will allow the EEOC and an individual tribe to coordinate investigations, share information and provide reciprocal training in their mutual efforts to eradicate employment discrimination. The EEOC will enter into a MOU with an Indian tribe as long as it has an ordinance prohibiting employment discrimination on its reservation or lands which sets forth procedures for redressing allegations of unlawful employment discrimination, and a Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) with the power and resources to enforce the tribe's non-discrimination ordinance. The Model MOU provides for an interactive relationship between the EEOC District Office and the Indian tribe with respect to charge processing, training, and technical assistance.

"This new and innovative plan is a great leap forward with the federal government teaming up with tribal agencies to fight job discrimination in Native American lands and communities," said Claudia Withers, EEOC Chief Operating Officer. "These MOUs will not only promote employment justice with protections for Indian tribal members, they will also foster relationships between the EEOC and tribes and promote enforcement of employment discrimination laws on and off Indian lands."

Conrad Edwards, CEO of the Council for Tribal Employment Rights, said: "The Council is appreciative of the EEOC's perseverance in the pursuit of this agreement. We believe it respects the sovereignty of the Tribes, while ensuring protection of their workforce in an effective partnership."

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at