The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Public Affairs

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs

April 7, 1999                      PHONE:    (202) 219-8211
                                   CONTACT:  Reginald Welch, EEOC 
                                   PHONE:    (202) 663-4900
                                   TTY:      (202) 663-4494



WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have approved two Memoranda of Understanding that will enable them to better enforce the laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, particularly laws that prohibit discrimination in compensation.

The memoranda establish better coordination and communication between the two agencies and provide for training to increase staff awareness of potential compensation discrimination cases. These efforts will increase both the efficiency and effectiveness of investigations by both organizations.

"Our economy is the strongest it has been in a generation and yet a pay gap still exists between men and women," said Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman. "A woman earns only 75 cents for every dollar that a man earns. For minority women it's worse. African American women earn just 65 cents and Hispanic women earn 55 cents for each dollar that white men earn. The closer working relationship between our agencies will ensure equal pay, equal opportunity and equal dignity for working women."

"These memoranda will strengthen the ability of the Labor Department and EEOC to work together for the fair and effective enforcement of the federal EEO laws while also eliminating unnecessary burdens on the business community," said EEOC Chairwoman Ida L. Castro. "I am particularly pleased that the MOUs will help us in the extremely important effort to eradicate pay discrimination from the workplace."

The first MOU will strengthen enforcement of compensation discrimination cases by providing for the cross-training of agency staff on the equal pay laws, as well as facilitating referral and sharing of information on pay discrimination cases. Cooperation between DOL and EEOC is essential because each agency enforces laws which address discrimination in compensation.

The second MOU updates a longstanding agreement between the agencies on the processing of discrimination complaints based on race, color, sex, national origin, and religion, including pay discrimination cases, that fall within their joint jurisdiction. This MOU will ensure the efficient processing of complaints and avoid duplication of effort.

In addition, the second MOU will allow DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) to seek monetary damages in the voluntary resolution of discrimination complaints involving federal contractors. This will eliminate the current need for complaining parties to file with EEOC to obtain damages. Only EEOC, however, will have authority to pursue damages through litigation.

EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits discrimination in pay on the basis of sex.

The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs enforces Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and requires affirmative action to ensure equal opportunity in the workplace. The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act and other laws establishing minimum wage and labor standards.

Today, the MOUs have been transmitted to the Federal Register for publication. They take effect upon publication in the Federal Register. Both MOUs will then be available on EEOC's web site ( and DOL's Employment Standards Administration Home Page ( The text of the MOUs is available on the web sites today along with a three-page fact sheet.

This page was last modified on April 7, 1999.

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