EEOC Chair Cari M. Dominguez delivers remarks
during a National Disability Mentoring Day event.
Remarks Part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month Observance
WASHINGTON - Cari M. Dominguez, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), today called on government and business to increase their hiring and mentoring of young people with disabilities at a National Disability Mentoring Day event co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and several other federal agencies. During the event, part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Chair Dominguez and other federal agency heads and officials discussed ways to employ and empower individuals with disabilities.
"We all play an equally important role in the charge to give every American worker the freedom to compete on a fair and level playing field," Chair Dominguez told the gathering at the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Washington, D.C. She and other speakers reiterated the key theme that America must utilize its vast untapped resource of young workers with disabilities to enhance the nation's competitiveness. People with disabilities account for one of the nation's most underemployed demographic groups, she said.
Noting that charge filings under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) account for approximately 20% of the EEOC's caseload, she added: "Disability does not mean inability. In a competitive global marketplace, it is a business imperative for employers to obtain and retain the best available talent. Many talented individuals with disabilities are willing and able to work but are too often denied gainful employment due to discrimination. The EEOC will use all the available tools at its disposal, including vigorous enforcement, to ensure that qualified employees and applicants with disabilities are afforded equal opportunities."
During the event, a new federal web site was launched, www.DisabilityInfo.gov, which provides an extensive listing of disability-related government resources. Other participants at the program included Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Social Security Administration Commissioner Jo Anne Barnhart, Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James, and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Ralph Boyd.
Chair Dominguez reminded the young workers and job seekers with disabilities that they will be role models for future generations. "The workers of tomorrow will look to you as an inspiration of hope and a source of strength, so your efforts are critical," she said.
The gathering was held in conjunction with President Bush's New Freedom Initiative, a comprehensive plan that promotes the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of American life. EEOC is sponsoring a series of New Freedom Initiative workshops around the country addressing the ADA's employment provisions (Title I) and the benefits of hiring people with disabilities. The workshops are customized for businesses that have between 15 and 100 employees, and even smaller companies that expect to expand, because many of these employers lack a human resources department or staff with expertise on equal employment opportunity laws.
The EEOC has enforcement authority for Title I of the ADA, which prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, discharge, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms and conditions of employment.
In addition to enforcing Title I of the ADA, EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals 40 years of age or older; sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991; the Equal Pay Act; and the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the federal government. Further information about the EEOC and National Disability Employment Awareness Month is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on October 16, 2002.
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