FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Claire Gonzales Tuesday, April 18, 1995 Reginald Welch (202) 663-4900 TDD (202) 663-4494
WASHINGTON -- A special meeting of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will be held Wednesday, April 19, at 2:30 p.m. for presentation and discussion of recommendations from Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas and Vice Chairman Paul M. Igasaki to strengthen and improve agency operations. Their recommendations were developed in part from the Commission's Task Force on Charge Processing (CP Task Force) led by Vice Chairman Igasaki, one of three commissioner-led task forces created by Chairman Casellas to perform an exhaustive investigation and analysis of the major operational problems facing the agency.
The meeting will focus on a wide range of suggested reforms to enforcement policies established by the Commission over a decade ago. According to Chairman Casellas, "Many of the processes associated with these policies are now impeding EEOC's ability to carry out its mission in a timely and effective manner, and are leading to frustration and a loss of confidence in the agency."
Since the 1980's when a number of enforcement processing and litigation policies based on principles of "full investigation and enforcement" were implemented, EEOC's statutory responsibilities have expanded. With the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the number of persons filing charges annually with EEOC has risen from less than 64,000 in fiscal year 1991 to more than 95,000 today, a 49% increase. More funding to support additional staffing and other resources necessary to meet these new challenges has not been forthcoming. The results have been seriously overburdened investigators carrying an average caseload of over 120 charges, an average of almost a year to process a charge, and a pending inventory of unresolved charges that now exceeds 100,000.
"These conditions stifle our very effectiveness as a law enforcement agency," Chairman Casellas said. "This agency simply cannot continue to function under these conditions. We must consider reasonable alternatives, which is what the task forces have been charged with providing. I am confident that the in-depth work of the task forces will better enable us to accomplish our mission of eliminating illegal barriers to employment opportunities."
Some of the recommendations presented by the CP Task Force can be immediately implemented by Chairman Casellas, while implementation of other recommendations will likely require consideration and vote by the five-member Commission. Still others may require further study.
The recommendations are expected to focus on the strategic use of limited agency resources to more effectively combat discrimination and to address the growing inventory of pending charges. The goal is to guide the agency toward a fairer, more efficient and effective administrative charge processing system. The Commission's deliberations will be guided by the following National Performance Review principles:
In arriving at its recommendations, the CP Task Force solicited input from all employment sectors; past and current EEOC employees at every level, including high level agency officials from previous administrations; community groups; and other entities affected by EEOC's mission. The Task Force also reviewed the operational history of EEOC and recommendations of previous agency task forces.
Chairman Casellas set up three commissioner-led task forces shortly after his arrival at the Commission in October 1994. He asked them to conduct thorough reviews of the critical agency functions experiencing the greatest operational problems and to recommend improvements. The Chairman also asked the task forces to be responsive to mandates from the President, the Vice President's National Performance Review, and the Congress to "re-invent" the way the agency does business. The two other task forces address EEOC's relationship with Fair Employment Practices Agencies and the agency's use of Alternative Dispute Resolution methods.
EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Equal Pay Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; prohibitions against discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal government; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.
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