WASHINGTON - Ida L. Castro, Chairwoman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), will be in Detroit on Monday, July 31, and Tuesday, August 1, to participate in the national "Spirit of the ADA Torch Relay" ceremonies commemorating the tenth anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Ms. Castro will also hold meetings with local stakeholders representing employers, employees, the private bar, civil rights community, legal organizations, and state and local government officials.
"I look forward to vising Detroit and taking part in the ADA Torch Relay, which symbolizes the tremendous progress that people with disabilities have made in breaking down barriers to equal opportunity and equal access," said Chairwoman Castro. "Despite this progress, more needs to be done in order to increase the employment of people with disabilities and eliminate the myths, fears, and stereotypes that too often block their advancement in the workplace."
The ADA torch relay event will kickoff with opening ceremonies from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Monday, July 31, at the Great Lakes Center for Independent Living, Bicentennial Towers, 4E Alexandrine. The relay route will take the torch down Woodward Avenue to Hart Plaza, where closing ceremonies will take place from 3:30-4:30 p.m. In addition to remarks by Chairwoman Castro, speakers at the event will include the president of the Detroit City Council and city council members, state representatives, and disability-rights advocates.
Since July 26 1992, when the ADA's employment provisions (Title I) became effective, the EEOC has obtained over $300 million on behalf of more than 20,000 individuals through its ADA enforcement efforts, including settlements, conciliations, mediation, and litigation. In addition, the Commission has obtained non-monetary benefits for over 10,000 individuals, including reasonable accommodations, policy changes, training and education, job referrals, union membership, and the posting of EEO notices at job sites.
Yesterday at a public Commission Meeting, the EEOC issued new ADA policy and enforcement guidance addressing disability-related inquiries and medical exams of employees and genetic discrimination in the federal workplace. The agency also released a comprehensive status report on ADA enforcement. All three documents and other ADA information are available on the Commission's web site at www.eeoc.gov.
During her visit to Detroit, Ms. Castro will also hold meetings with key agency stakeholders in order "to gather information and receive feedback on how the Commission can more effectively enforce the anti-discrimination laws at the local level, as well as enhance its outreach, education, and technical assistance initiatives," she said.
On Tuesday morning, August 1, Ms. Castro will meet with local advocacy and community groups at EEOC's Detroit District Office, including the NAACP, Michigan Minority Business Development Council, ADAPT, Michigan Department of Civil Rights, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Detroit Urban League, American Jewish Committee, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Michigan Hispanic Senior Citizens Coalition, Michigan Department of Career Development, and city and local government officials.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Castro will meet with representatives of major area employers and legal organizations, including Bank 1, the American Bar Association, Compu Ware, Delphi Automotive Systems, American Axle, the American Red Cross, Michigan State University, Michigan Department of Corrections, and others.
"EEOC will continue to reach out to those at the grassroots level who have a vital stake in fostering equal employment opportunity," said Ms. Castro. "By closely collaborating with both employees and employers, and educating them about their rights and responsibilities, we will be able to increase understanding of the civil rights laws and prevent employment discrimination in the first instance -- which is in everyone's best interest."
Ms. Castro was sworn in as Chairwoman of the EEOC on October 23, 1998, and is the first Latina to serve in this capacity. She was nominated by President Clinton on April 2 and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 21, 1998.
Under her leadership, the Commission has been on the cutting edge of enforcing the nation's anti-discrimination laws through an innovative comprehensive enforcement approach. Through this new vision and work strategy, the EEOC has won the respect and praise of many who have been critical of the agency in the past. Among the EEOC's many accomplishments under Ms. Castro's leadership are cutting the backlog of private sector charges by 23% to a 15-year low, reducing the average charge processing time, implementing a successful national mediation program, reforming the federal sector EEO complaint process, and issuing several comprehensive guidance documents on key legal and employment issues.
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 Commission is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on July 28, 2000.
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