The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a bipartisan Commission comprised of five presidentially-appointed members, including the Chair, Vice Chair, and three Commissioners. The Chair is responsible for the administration and implementation of policy for and the financial management and organizational development of the Commission. The Vice Chair and the Commissioners participate equally in the development and approval of Commission policies, issue charges of discrimination where appropriate, and authorize the filing of suits. In addition to the Commissioners, the President appoints a General Counsel to support the Commission and provide direction, coordination, and supervision to the EEOC’s litigation program. A brief description of major program areas is provided on the following pages.
When the Commission first opened its doors in 1965, it was charged with enforcing the employment provisions of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC’s jurisdiction over employment discrimination issues has since grown and now includes the following areas:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which requires employers to treat pregnancy and pregnancy-related medical conditions as any other medical disability with respect to terms and conditions of employment, including health benefits.
Equal Pay Act of 1963 (included in the Fair Labor Standards Act), which prohibits sex discrimination in the payment of wages to men and women performing substantially equal work in the same establishment.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which protects workers 40 and older from discrimination in hiring, discharge, pay, promotions, fringe benefits, and other aspects of employment. ADEA also prohibits the termination of pension contributions and accruals on account of age and governs early retirement incentive plans and other aspects of benefits planning and integration for older workers.
Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, which prohibits discrimination by private sector respondents and state and local governments against qualified individuals on the basis of disability.
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the federal government.
Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act [as of November 21, 2009], which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of an applicant’s or employee’s genetic information, generally prohibits acquisition of genetic information from applicants and employees, and requires covered entities to keep such information confidential.
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which overturned adverse Supreme Court precedent and restored the EEOC’s long-held position on the timeliness of pay discrimination claims.
The Headquarters-based Office of Field Programs, the Office of General Counsel, and 53 field offices, insure that the EEOC effectively enforces the statutory, regulatory, policy, and program responsibilities of the Commission through a variety of resolution methods tailored to each charge. The field staff is responsible for achieving a wide range of objectives, which focus on the quality, timeliness, and appropriateness of individual, class, and systemic charges and for securing relief for victims of discrimination in accordance with Commission policies. The field staff also counsel individuals about their rights under the laws enforced by the EEOC and conduct outreach and technical assistance programs. The Office of General Counsel conducts litigation in district courts though its field-based trial attorneys and in the courts of appeals though its appellate attorneys in headquarters.
Additionally, through the Office of Field Program’s State and Local Program, the EEOC maintains work sharing agreements and a contract services program with 94 state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs) for the purpose of coordinating the investigation of charges dual-filed under state and local laws and federal law, as appropriate. The EEOC partners with more than 60 Tribal Employment Rights Offices (TEROs), to promote equal employment opportunity on or near Indian reservations.
The Office of Legal Counseldevelops policy guidance, provides technical assistance to employers and employees, and coordinates with other agencies and stakeholders regarding the statutes and regulations enforced by the Commission. The Office of Legal Counsel also includes an external litigation and advice division and a Freedom of Information Act unit.
Through its Office of Federal Operations,the EEOC provides leadership and guidance to federal agencies on all aspects of the federal government’s equal employment opportunity program. This office assures federal agency and department compliance with EEOC regulations, provides technical assistance to federal agencies concerning EEO complaint adjudication, monitors and evaluates federal agencies’ affirmative employment programs, develops and distributes federal sector educational materials and conducts training for stakeholders, provides guidance and assistance to EEOC administrative judges who conduct hearings on EEO complaints, and adjudicates appeals from administrative decisions made by federal agencies on EEO complaints.
The EEOC receives a congressional appropriation to fund the necessary expenses of enforcing civil rights legislation, as well as performing the prevention, outreach, and coordination of activities within the private and public sectors. In addition, the EEOC maintains a Training Institute for technical assistance programs. These programs provide fee-based education and training relating to the laws administered by the Commission.
Stuart J. Ishimaru was designated by President Obama as Acting Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on January 20, 2009. Mr. Ishimaru has been a Commissioner since 2003, and is serving a second term that expires July 1, 2012.
Mr. Ishimaru has worked with his colleagues in pushing the Commission to focus on large, systemic cases and in reinvigorating the agency’s work on race discrimination issues. He was instrumental in the Commission’s adoption of groundbreaking guidance on gender discrimination against workers who have caregiving responsibilities.
Mr. Ishimaru opposed the Commission’s actions to weaken age discrimination protections as well as to suppress collection of full data on workers of two or more races. Mr. Ishimaru also opposed misguided efforts to outsource and reorganize key EEOC functions.
Mr. Ishimaru previously served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice between 1999 and 2001, where he served as a principal advisor to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, advising on management, policy, and political issues involving the Civil Rights Division. He supervised the Division’s attorneys in high-profile litigation, including employment discrimination cases, fair housing and fair lending cases, criminal police misconduct, hate crime and slavery prosecutions, and enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act. From 1994-1999, Mr. Ishimaru served as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and provided advice on a broad range of issues.
In 1993, Mr. Ishimaru was appointed by President Clinton to be the Acting Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and from 1984”“1993 served on the professional staffs of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights and two House Armed Services Subcommittees of the U.S. Congress.
Mr. Ishimaru, a native of San Jose, California, received his A.B. in Political Science and in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and his law degree from the George Washington University.
Christine M. Griffin, nominated by former President George W. Bush on July 28, 2005, and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, was sworn in on January 3, 2006.
As a member of the Commission, Ms. Griffin participates with the other Commissioners on all matters which come before the Commission, including the development and approval of enforcement policies, authorization of litigation, issuance of Commissioners’ charges of discrimination, and performance of such other functions as may be authorized by law, regulation, or order.
Since joining the Commission, Ms. Griffin has been vocal in her support of increasing diversity in the federal workforce, as well as promoting greater efficiency and fairness in the federal EEO process. She has also been a strong advocate for women’s rights and the rights of individuals with disabilities. Notably, in June 2006 Ms. Griffin launched the LEAD Initiative—Leadership for the Employment of Americans with Disabilities—to address the significant under-employment of individuals with severe disabilities in the federal government.
Prior to joining the Commission, Ms. Griffin worked extensively in labor and employment law positions in both the public and private sectors. Most recently, she served as the Executive Director of the Disability Law Center in Boston from 1996 to 2005. Prior to that, Ms. Griffin served from 1995 to 1996 as an Attorney Advisor to the former Vice Chair of the EEOC, Paul M. Igasaki, advising him on legal matters and policy issues. Ms. Griffin is also a Vietnam-era veteran of the U.S. Army, serving on active duty from 1974”“1977.
A native of Boston, Ms. Griffin received her undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1983. Ms. Griffin received her law degree from the Boston College Law School, and was awarded the prestigious Skadden Arps Fellowship upon graduation. In December 2005, Ms. Griffin was selected as one of the nation’s eleven “Lawyers of the Year” by Lawyers Weekly USA newspaper.
Ms Griffin has recently been nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as Deputy Director of the Office of Personnel Management. Ms. Griffin will be leaving EEOC and joining OPM soon.
Constance Smith Barker was sworn in July 14, 2008, as a Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Commissioner Barker was nominated by former President George W. Bush on March 31, 2008, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on June 27, 2008 to serve the remainder of a five-year term expiring on July 1, 2011.
Commissioner Barker has a strong interest in women’s issues and is focusing her efforts on the continuing problem of workplace sexual violence against migrant farmworker women. Commissioner Barker is committed to strengthening the EEOC’s enforcement efforts against this heinous form of unlawful discrimination.
Prior to her appointment to the Commission, Commissioner Barker was a shareholder for 13 years at the law firm of Capell & Howard, P.C. in Montgomery, Alabama. Her public sector experience includes serving for 11 years as General Counsel for the Mobile County Public School
System, a large city and county-wide school system in Mobile, Alabama. While in private practice in Mobile, she also served as a part-time municipal judge for two Alabama municipalities and was actively involved in the juvenile justice system. Commissioner Barker also worked for four years as a prosecutor, serving as an Assistant District Attorney, first for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Alabama and later for the 13th Judicial Circuit. In her role as a prosecutor, she tried numerous jury as well as bench trials.
In 2007, Commissioner Barker was awarded the Alabama State Bar’s Award of Merit for outstanding constructive service to the legal profession. She was cited for her work as Co-Chairman of the Alabama Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee which monitored Alabama judicial election campaigns in 2006.
A native of Florence, Alabama, Commissioner Barker was awarded a juris doctor from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1977. She attended St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana, and was awarded a bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame University in 1973, where she was in the first class of women to graduate from that previously all-male institution.
Naomi Churchill Earp assumed the role of Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on August 31, 2006, serving until January 20, 2009. Prior to her position as Chair, she served as Vice Chair starting April 28, 2003. After January 2009 she reverted to the position of Commissioner, which she held until her resignation from the Commission on June 5, 2009.
Ronald S. Cooper was sworn in Aug. 11, 2006, to a four-year term as General Counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He resigned his post on January 30, 2009.
ADA Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
ADAAA Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008
ADEA Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
ADR Alternative Dispute Resolution
AJ Administrative Judge
CFO Chief Financial Officer
CHCO Chief Human Capital Officer
DMS Document Management System
EEO Equal Employment Opportunity
EEOC Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
EPA Equal Pay Act of 1963
EXCEL Examining Conflicts in Employment Laws
FEPA Fair Employment Practice Agency
FLSA Fair Labor Standards Act
FMFIA Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act
FOIA Freedom of Information Act
FTE Full-Time Equivalent
GINA Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
GSA General Services Administration
IIG Intake Information Group
IFMS Integrated Financial Management System
IMS Integrated Mission System
LEAD Leadership for the Employment of Americans with Disabilities
OFO Office of Federal Operations
OFP Office of Field Programs
OGC Office of General Counsel
OIG Office of Inspector General
OMB Office of Management and Budget
OPM Office of Personnel Management
PMA President’s Management Agenda
PCHP Priority Charge Handling Procedures
TAPS Technical Assistance Program Seminar
TERO Tribal Employment Rights Offices
UAM Universal Agreement to Mediate
EEOC FY 2009 Performance and Accountability Report: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/2009par.cfm
EEOC FY 2009 Performance and Accountability Report Highlights: http://www.eeoc.gov/plan/2009parhighlights.cfm
EEOC FY 2008 Performance and Accountability Report: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/archives/annualreports/par/2008/index.html
EEOC Strategic Plan: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/strategic_plan_07to12_mod.cfm
EEOC FY 2010 Performance Budget: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/2010budget.cfm
EEOC FY 2009 Performance Budget: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/archives/budgets/2009budget/index.cfm
EEOC Annual Report on the Federal Workforce: http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/reports/fsp2008/index.html
Youth@Work Initiative: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/initiatives/youth/index.cfm
LEAD Initiative: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/initiatives/lead/index.cfm