As part of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) year-long 50th anniversary celebration, the agency has released American Experiences versus American Expectations, a report that illustrates the significant changes to the demographics of the American workforce since EEOC opened its doors in 1965. The report, which also highlights continuing challenges in our workforce demographics, uses EEO-1 data to track employment participation from 1966 to 2013 for several demographic groups, including American Indians and Alaskan Natives.
Beginning in 1966, all employers with 100 or more employees (lower thresholds apply to federal contractors) have been required by law to file an Employer Information Report EEO-1 with EEOC. In fiscal year 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, approximately 70,000 employers filed reports indicating the composition of their workforce by sex, race/ethnicity, and major job categories. (For more information about the EEO-1 and job categories, please see http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo1survey/index.cfm.)
American Experiences versus American Expectations reveals several noteworthy trends concerning the American Indian/Alaskan Native experiences in the workforce:
By comparison, between 1966 and 2013, American Indian and Alaskan Native participation rates in the workforce increased from 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent (2013 EEO-1 Indicators report). In 2013, the United States' 5.2 million American Indians and Alaskan Natives made up roughly 2 percent of the population. Of this total, about 49 percent were American Indian and Alaskan Native only, and about 51 percent were American Indian and Alaskan Native in combination with one or more other race. Despite the gains in employment made by American Indian and Alaskan Natives in the last 50 years, the annual median earnings of single-race American Indian and Alaskan Native households in 2013 was $36,252, compared with the national median earnings at $52,176.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing, among other laws, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race or national origin in any aspect of employment. However, businesses owned by American Indian or Alaskan Native tribes are not covered by Title VII. This means that a tribal business does not have to file EEO-1 reports, even if it employs more than 100 people. Thus, the EEO-1 reports do not include the numbers of American Indians and Alaskan Natives working for tribal businesses.
Since 1980, EEOC has worked with Tribal Employment Rights Offices (TEROs) to protect the employment rights of American Indians and Alaskan Natives. In 2012, the Commission unanimously approved a model plan to help American Indian and Alaskan Native tribes partner with EEOC to combat employment discrimination. The model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) allows EEOC district offices and eligible individual American Indian and Alaskan Native tribes to coordinate investigations, share information, and provide reciprocal training in their mutual efforts to eradicate employment discrimination should they enter into the agreement. Tribes are eligible to participate in an MOU as long as they have an ordinance prohibiting employment discrimination on their reservation or lands that sets forth procedures for addressing allegations of unlawful employment discrimination and a TERO with the power and resources to enforce the tribe's non-discrimination ordinance. More information on EEOC and discrimination can be found here: www.eeoc.gov.