The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 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 has jurisdiction over employment discrimination issues has since grown and now includes the following areas:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 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 Provisions of 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 (ADEA), 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 (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals on the basis of disability by entities covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, except for the federal government.
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the federal government; and
- Title II of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination 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.
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 our Administrative Judges who conduct hearings on EEO complaints, and adjudicates appeals from administrative decisions made by federal agencies on EEO complaints.
Through our Headquarters-based Office of Field Programs, the Office of General Counsel, and 53 field offices, 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.
Additionally, through the Office of Field Program’s State and Local Program, the EEOC maintains work sharing agreements and a contract services program with 96 state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs) for the purpose of coordinating the investigation of charges dual-filed under State and local law and Federal law, as appropriate. Through our partnership with more than 60 Tribal Employment Rights Offices (TEROs), we seek to promote equal employment opportunity on or near Indian reservations.
Through our Office of Legal Counsel, we develop policy guidance, provide technical assistance to employers and employees, and coordinate with other agencies and stakeholders regarding the statutes and regulations we enforce. The Office of Legal Counsel also includes an external litigation and advice division and a Freedom of Information Act unit.
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.
The EEOC has five commissioners and a General Counsel appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Commissioners are appointed for five-year, staggered terms. The term of the General Counsel is four years. The President designates a Chair and a Vice Chair. The Chair is the chief executive officer of the Commission. The five-member Commission makes equal employment opportunity policy and approves litigation. The General Counsel is responsible for conducting EEOC enforcement litigation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Naomi Churchill Earp assumed the role of Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on August 31, 2006, after serving as Vice Chair of the Commission since April 28, 2003. On October 26, 2005, President Bush reappointed Ms. Earp for a second term. Her current term expires on July 1, 2010.
Ms. Earp serves as the chief executive officer of the Commission. In conjunction with fellow Commissioners, she also guides the development and establishment of EEO policy and approves high impact and novel litigation actions.
Ms. Earp brings to the EEOC hands-on leadership and management experience; a strong track record of promoting diversity; and expertise in the equal employment opportunity field. Her breadth of experience, spanning the private and public sectors, provides valuable insight into employment-related issues.
Ms. Earp’s work experience in promoting diversity in EEO includes a series of progressively responsible leadership positions with various federal agencies, including the National Institute of Science and Technology, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At the NIH, Ms. Earp spearheaded the development of a world-class diversity initiative and a nationally-recognized alternative dispute resolution program. At the Department of Agriculture, she headed the Equal Opportunity Program, which included minority small businesses and minority farmers. Ms. Earp also served as an Attorney Advisor at the EEOC during the mid-1980s. In addition, she has worked as an independent consultant providing services to private employers and public agencies on a variety of employment-related issues and programs.
Leslie E. Silverman became Vice Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on September 8, 2006, after serving as a Commissioner since March 7, 2002. She was first nominated by President George W. Bush in February 2002 and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 1, 2002. Ms. Silverman was renominated to a full term in July 2003 and unanimously confirmed by the Senate in October 2003. Her term expired on July 1, 2008.
Vice Chair Silverman led the EEOC’s Systemic Task Force which examined the EEOC’s efforts at combating systemic discrimination. In April 2006, the Commission unanimously adopted the Task Force’s major recommendations aimed at improving the EEOC’s systemic program. Ms. Silverman also is a participant on the Center for Work-Life Policy’s “Hidden Brain Drain” Task Force which focuses on the retention and advancement of women and minority employees.
Immediately prior to joining the Commission, Ms. Silverman served for five years as Labor Counsel to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. From 1990 to 1997, she was an associate specializing in employment law and litigation with Keller and Heckman, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm.
A native of Needham, Massachusetts, Ms. Silverman received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont; a Juris Doctor degree from the American University, Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C.; and a Masters degree With Distinction in labor and employment law from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. Ms. Silverman’s bar memberships include the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She also is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and Sixth Circuits.
Stuart J. Ishimaru has been a Commissioner of the EEOC since November 17, 2003. Mr. Ishimaru was re-nominated by President George W. Bush for a second term and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 19, 2007. His term expires July 1, 2012.
As a member of the Commission, he participates with the other Commissioners on all matters which come before it – including the development and approval of enforcement policies, authorization of litigation, and approval of agency regulations.
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 more than 100 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.
Prior to this, as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division for five years,
Mr. Ishimaru provided advice on a broad range of issues, including legislative affairs, politics and strategies. He maintained liaison between the office and Members of Congress, and supervised fair housing and fair lending, equal employment opportunity, education, and Voting Rights Act litigation. He also testified before Congressional Committees on fair housing 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.
Christine M. Griffin was sworn in on January 3, 2006, as a Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ms. Griffin was nominated by President George W. Bush on July 28, 2005, and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 4 to serve the remainder of a five-year term expiring July 1, 2009.
Ms. Griffin’s work experience in labor and employment law includes 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. The Law Center provides legal advocacy on disability issues that promote the fundamental rights of all people with disabilities to participate fully and equally in the social and economic life of Massachusetts. As Executive Director, she provided leadership for the Law Center’s 25 employees and conducted its overall management, including programmatic and fiscal planning, priority setting and implementation, and fundraising.
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’s other federal work experience includes serving in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Army.
A native of Boston, Ms. Griffin is a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and served as its Interim President from 1993 to 1994. She is also a graduate of Boston College Law School and, upon graduation, was awarded a Skadden Arps Fellowship at the Disability Law Center. Ms. Griffin has served on many boards and task forces, including the national Social Security Administration Ticket to Work Advisory Panel, the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. In December 2005, Ms. Griffin was selected as one of the nation’s eleven “Lawyers of the Year” by Lawyers Weekly USA newspaper.
Constance S. Barker was sworn in July 14, 2008, as a Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ms. Barker was nominated by President George W. Bush on March 31, 2008, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on June 27 to serve the remainder of a five-year term expiring on July 1, 2011.
Ms. Barker brings extensive experience in labor and employment law, including positions in both the private and public sectors. As a shareholder at Capell & Howard, P.C. in Montgomery, Ala., she provided advice regarding the prevention of discrimination complaints and defended clients in employment discrimination lawsuits. Her public-sector experience includes four years as an assistant district attorney for the 11th and 13th Judicial Circuits of Alabama, one year as a judge for two Alabama localities, and 11 years as the general counsel for the Mobile County Public School System.
A native of Florence, Ala., Ms. Barker received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a juris doctor from the University of Alabama.
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 was nominated by President George W. Bush on March 27, 2006, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on July 26.
Mr. Cooper most recently was employed as a partner in the Washington D.C. office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where he had specialized in employment litigation for over 34 years. He primarily represented employers at the trial and appellate level in litigation throughout the country including case brought under Title VII, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, The Equal Pay Act, The Americans with Disabilities Act and The Fair Labor Standards Act. These cases included large class actions and government enforcement matters. In addition to actions brought under federal law, he represented employers with respect to claims brought under state and local laws. Mr. Cooper also represented both employees and employers in restrictive covenant and executive compensation cases.
Mr. Cooper has been a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers since 1997. He is a member of the ABA’s Section of Labor and Employment Law and has held a number of leadership positions in that group including service as Management Chair of its Continuing Legal Education Committee. He most recently served as Management Chair of its International Labor Law Committee.
For 13 years Mr. Cooper served on the Metropolitan Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. He has also served on that organization’s Executive Committee, and most recently was its General Counsel.
Mr. Cooper was born and raised in Athens, Georgia. He received his AB degree in the honors program of the University of Georgia, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his JD degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. He served as law clerk to Judge Walter P. Gewin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 1969-70, and as a Staff Attorney in the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, Appeals Section, 1970-72.
|ADA||Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990|
|ADAA||Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008|
|ADEA||Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967|
|ADR||Alternative Dispute Resolution|
|CFO||Chief Financial Officer|
|DMS||Document Management System|
|EEO||Equal Employment Opportunity|
|EEOC||Equal Employment Opportunity Commission|
|EPA||Equal Pay Act of 1963|
|E-RACE||Eradicating Racism And Colorism from Employment|
|EXCEL||Examining Conflicts in Employment Laws|
|FEPA||Fair Employment Practice Agencies|
|FLSA||Fair Labor Standards Act|
|FOIA||Freedom of Information Act|
|GINA||Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act|
|GSA||General Services Administration|
|IFMS||Integrated Financial Management System|
|IMS||Integrated Mission System|
|LEAD||Leadership for the Employment of Americans with Disabilities|
|MDI||Management Development Institute|
|NFI||New Freedom Initiative|
|NIH||National Institutes of Health|
|NUAM||National Universal Agreements to Mediate|
|OFO||Office of Federal Operations|
|OIG||Office of Inspector General|
|PART||Program Assessment Rating Tool|
|PMA||President’s Management Agenda|
|TAP||Technical Assistance Program|
|TERO||Tribal Employment Rights Offices|
|UAM||Universal Agreements to Mediate|
EEOC FY 2008 Performance and Accountability Report: http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeoc/plan/par/2008/index.html
EEOC FY 2007 Performance and Accountability Report: http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeoc/plan/par/2007/index.html
EEOC Strategic Plan: http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeoc/plan/strategic07-12/index.html
EEOC FY 2008 Performance Budget: http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeoc/plan/2008budget/index.html
EEOC FY 2007 Performance Budget: http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeoc/plan/2007budget/index.html
EEOC Annual Report on the Federal Workforce: http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/fsp2007/index.html
E-RACE Initiative: http://www.eeoc.gov/initiatives/e-race/index.html
Youth@Work Initiative: http://www.eeoc.gov/initiatives/youth/index.html