The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



National Effort to Educate Teen Employees About Their Rights and Responsibilities

WASHINGTON - Commissioner Stuart J. Ishimaru of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) met this morning with students of McKinley Technology High School in the District of Columbia, as the agency's new "Youth@Work" initiative continues in the Washington metropolitan area. Information about the initiative can be found online at

Youth@Work is an unprecedented national outreach and education campaign by the EEOC designed to proactively prevent discrimination against teenage workers. The initiative was launched last week by Commission Vice Chair Naomi C. Earp at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md. where her staff made a follow up presentation yesterday. Future visits to area high schools will be made by EEOC Chair Cari M. Dominguez and Commissioner Leslie E. Silverman.

"This initiative will raise our nation's awareness to employment issues affecting teens many of whom are entering the workplace for the very first time," said Commissioner Ishimaru. "It's important to let young people know their basic civil rights under our laws. We hope Youth@Work will resonate in language that young people understand, especially by using the Internet."

The three main components of the Youth@Work initiative are a new youth web site at, dedicated to educating young workers about their equal employment opportunity rights and responsibilities; a series of national outreach events by EEOC Commissioners and field office staff for high school students, youth organizations, and small businesses who employ young workers; and partnerships with business leaders, human resource groups, and industry trade associations.

In addition to the local events in the Washington, D.C. area, EEOC field offices will be participating in weekly Youth@Work forums at the grassroots level over the course of the next year. The first field office event took place today, with the staff of the agency's Minneapolis Area Office visiting Central Senior High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, and meeting with 260 teenage students.

Next week, Commissioner Silverman is scheduled to make a Youth@Work presentation at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Also during the first week of October, the EEOC's Phoenix District Office is scheduled to host a Youth@Work event at Cholla High School in Tucson, Arizona. During the week of October 11, the San Francisco District Office is scheduled to sponsor a student film festival featuring a film on teen harassment produced by local high school students. EEOC district offices in New York City, Miami, St. Louis, Detroit, San Antonio, Memphis, Philadelphia, and other major cities will also host Youth@Work events over the coming months.

The Commission's Youth@Work partners will likewise play a vital role in increasing public awareness about the federal anti-discrimination laws as they relate to teens in the workplace. The Commission will host a series of forums and roundtable discussions with business leaders, human resource groups, and industry trade associations to further explore the workplace trends and challenges affecting young workers.

The new Youth@Work web site, available online at, explains the different types of job discrimination that young workers may encounter and suggests strategies they can use to prevent, and, if necessary, respond to such discrimination. The site includes an interactive tool called "Challenge Yourself!" that provides an opportunity for teens to test their knowledge by analyzing sample job discrimination scenarios. The site, created with the assistance of student interns, also includes examples of recent EEOC cases involving workplace harassment of teens.

The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment or pregnancy) or national origin and protects employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which protects workers age 40 and older from discrimination based on age; the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits gender-based wage discrimination; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the federal sector; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Further information about the Commission is available on the agency's web site at

This page was last modified on September 29, 2004.

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