The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



WASHINGTON -- U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chairwoman, Ida L. Castro, will be speaking at the Eighth Annual Congress on Civil Rights on Wednesday, March 24, 1999, at 10:45 am. The conference, sponsored by the Puerto Rico Civil Rights Commission (PRCRC) , will run from March 24 - 26 at the University of Puerto Rico regional campus of Carolina, with the theme "Gender, Race and Civil Rights."

This trip to Puerto Rico marks Ms. Castro's first official visit to her homeland since being sworn in as Chairwoman of EEOC on October 23, 1998. Ms. Castro is the first Hispanic female to serve as head of the Commission in its thirty-four year history, and brings to the Commission a well-established commitment to equal opportunity for all Americans. She has a recognized track- record for effective, innovative leadership and management, and a successful career in reaching common ground on complex employment issues. Since 1994, she has served the Administration of U. S. President Bill Clinton in several high-level positions dealing with critical labor and workplace issues.

In her address to the conference, Chairwoman Castro will talk about EEOC's expanded mediation program, budget issues facing the agency, and the Commission's recently issued Enforcement Guidance on Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other featured speakers include the Mayor of Carolina, P.R., the President of the University of P.R., and the President of Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Since 1965, PRCRC has served primarily to educate Puerto Ricans on the significance of their fundamental rights -- including freedom of speech, the right to privacy, and the right to be free from discrimination. PRCRC does not have authority to investigate charges of employment bias or file litigation against entities that discriminate. Charges of employment discrimination may be filed with EEOC or the Puerto Rico Department of Labor, Anti-Discrimination Division Unit, which contracts with EEOC to process charges of discrimination in the Commonwealth.

From 1996 to the present, Ms. Castro served as the Acting Director of the Women's Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), where she was responsible for formulating standards and policies that promote the welfare of wage-earning women.

From 1994 to 1996, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary, DOL, and Director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, where she managed a staff of 1,500 and a budget of over $8 billion. Her leadership and management skills -- with an emphasis on results, responsiveness to the public, and cutting- edge methods to enhance operational efficiency -- earned two coveted "Hammer Awards" from the Office of the Vice President.

Prior to her work for the Administration, Ms. Castro was Senior Legal Counsel for Legal Affairs for the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation from 1990 to 1994. From 1988 to 1990, she served as Special Counsel to the President and Director of Labor Relations at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York.

Ms. Castro practiced employment, labor, and public interest law in New York and New Jersey from 1983 to 1990. She was the first Hispanic woman to earn tenure as an Associate Professor of Rutgers University (New Jersey), Institute for Management and Labor Relations, where she developed and taught courses from 1976 to 1983 on workplace sexual harassment, equal employment opportunity law, and Alternative Dispute Resolution methods. She received a B.A. degree from the University of Puerto Rico, and M.A. and J.D. degrees from Rutgers University.

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; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the federal government.

This page was last modified on March 22, 1999.

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