FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jeanette Leino Monday, July 8, 1996 (206) 220-6870 TDD (206) 220-6882 John Montoya (206) 220-6872 A. Luis Lucero, Jr. (206) 220-6878 Joan Stephens-Schwenger (503) 731-4211
PORTLAND, ORE. -- Recent reforms at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will be the focus of discussions between agency Vice Chairman Paul M. Igasaki and local principals who have a stake in EEOC's efforts to fight job discrimination. Igasaki's visit to Portland, from July 10 through 11, follows a similar threeday stay in Seattle as part of EEOC's expanded education and outreach program to agency constituency groups nationwide.
Among those scheduled to confer with Igasaki are Oregon Labor Commissioner Jack Roberts and Civil Rights Division Administrator Johnnie Bell. Ms. Bell's office is under contract with EEOC to process charges of employment discrimination within the region. Igasaki will be accompanied by the heads of EEOC's Seattle District Office, Jeanette Leino, director; and A. Luis Lucero, Jr., regional attorney. The office processes discrimination charges and conducts litigation on behalf of affected individuals in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska.
Other employer and constituency group representatives that Igasaki will meet with include individuals from the State of Oregon Business Association, Red Lion Hotels, Cascade Employers Association, Legacy Health Systems, Northwest Natural Gas Company, Oregon Advocacy Center, and the Deaf and Hearing Impaired Access Program.
Discussions will focus on recent reforms implemented by EEOC to strengthen its enforcement of federal laws prohibiting job discrimination. These reforms include successful innovations in processing discrimination charges. New charge priority handling procedures provide agency field offices with more flexibility in deciding the level of investigation appropriate to both incoming and pending charges. Since the new procedures went into effect last summer, EEOC's pending inventory of private sector charges has declined by approximately 20%.
Information will also be exchanged about the implementation of EEOC's National Enforcement Plan (NEP), which strategically directs limited agency resources for obtaining maximum results in fighting discrimination in the private sector. The information sharing in which Igasaki will be engaged during his visit highlights a fundamental element of the NEP: Prevention of employment discrimination through public education and outreach. The NEP also provides for the inclusion of important local issues that are consistent with the national enforcement priorities. EEOC's Seattle office is responsible for identifying issues of concern in Portland and other cities within its four-state enforcement jurisdiction.
Appointed to the Commission by President Clinton in 1994, Igasaki is the highest ranking Asian American in the Commission's history. As Chairman of EEOC's Task Force of Charge Processing, he was instrumental in reforming the agency's private sector charge process. A native of Chicago, he served in the administration of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington as liaison to the Asian American Community. He also was the Executive Director of the San Francisco-based Asian Law Caucus and a representative of the Japanese American Citizens League. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and received his Juris Doctor from the University of California at Davis Law School.
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; Title I of 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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