WASHINGTON -- Ida L. Castro, Chairwoman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), today reiterated the agency's commitment to vigorously enforcing the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The Commission is observing the ninth anniversary of the groundbreaking civil rights law.
"Since passage of the ADA by Congress in 1990, the Commission has worked diligently to educate employers about their obligations under the law and also to inform individuals with disabilities about their equal employment opportunity rights," Chairwoman Castro said.
EEOC's enforcement of Title I of the ADA became effective on July 26, 1992. Title I prohibits workplace discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments. From July 1992 through March 31, 1999 (second quarter of fiscal year 1999), the Commission has resolved more than 117,000 ADA charges and obtained over $241 million in benefits for individuals alleging discrimination under the ADA without resort to court-filed actions.
"I am pleased and proud of the important role EEOC has played in breaking down barriers and expanding opportunities, thereby ensuring that individuals with disabilities take their rightful position at the workplace and participate fully in our society," said Ms. Castro.
From July 26, 1992, through the second quarter of FY 1999, EEOC has filed approximately 360 direct lawsuits and interventions under Title I, resolving approximately 250 of them for more than $27 million in monetary relief for aggrieved parties. Of the lawsuits initiated by the Commission, about 91% were either settled or won in court, and about 8.4% were lost. Less than 1 percent of Title I lawsuits were dismissed voluntarily.
In addition to actively enforcing the provisions of Title I, EEOC issues policy guidance, conducts outreach, and provides technical assistance to employers and employees in order to promote understanding and voluntary compliance with the ADA. Most recently, in March 1999, EEOC released a policy guidance to address the duty of employers to provide "reasonable accommodations" to job applicants and employees. The guidance, issued in a user-friendly question and answer format, also represents the Commission's most complete discussion to date of "undue hardship." Title I guidance issued previously focuses on pre- employment disability-related inquiries and medical exams, workers' compensation, psychiatric disabilities, disability insurance benefits, and other issues.
In commemorating the ADA's ninth anniversary, Ms. Castro participated in a forum entitled "How to Improve Outcomes in Education, Employment, and Civil Rights Enforcement for People with Disabilities from Diverse Cultural Backgrounds" held at the White House on Monday, July 26.
At the forum, Ms. Castro discussed her role as chair of the Committee on Civil Rights of the Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities. She said that she is working with other federal agencies to "develop a comprehensive inter-agency effort aimed at educating and assisting under-served groups in the disability community, particularly racial and ethnic minorities." Ms. Castro continued: "Racial and ethnic groups often form an under- represented minority within the disability community. These groups are usually geographically isolated and often linguistically separated not only from the disability community, but from society generally. As such, they remain a class of individuals uninformed about their civil rights and unaware of opportunities available to them."
Today Ms. Castro met at EEOC headquarters with leaders of disability rights groups to discuss their mutual interests and concerns about the ADA. She also hosted a reception commemorating the passage of the landmark legislation.
In addition to enforcing Title I of the ADA, EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the federal government. Further information about EEOC and the laws it enforces is available on the agency's web site (www.eeoc.gov).
This page was last modified on July 28, 1999.
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