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EEOC Informal Discussion Letter

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

EEOC Office of Legal Counsel staff members wrote the following informal discussion letter in response to an inquiry from a member of the public. This letter is intended to provide an informal discussion of the noted issue and does not constitute an official opinion of the Commission.

Title VII, ADA, and SARS

June 4, 2003


Hong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission


This is in response to your e-mail letter to Cari Dominguez, Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), dated May14, 2003, regarding discrimination because of the recent SARS outbreak against residents of Hong Kong who are traveling, working, studying or visiting abroad. The Chair has asked this office to respond directly to you.

The EEOC's authority is limited to enforcing federal statutes that prohibit discrimination in employment based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability. (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d); the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.; the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.; and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 791 et seq.).

The discrimination referenced in your letter does not appear to be covered by the laws enforced by the EEOC. However, if you know of anyone who believes that he/she has been denied an employment opportunity on any of the bases referenced above, they should contact the appropriate EEOC office to explore whether or not to file a charge. You will find contact information for all of the Commission's field offices at or 1-800-669-4000.

You also asked for contact information for organizations in the United States who are able to respond to and deal with enquiries or complaints from overseas residents about SARS related discrimination in the United States in 1) student enrollments in and attendance at schools, colleges and universities; 2) participation and attendance at trade exhibitions and shows; and 3) eligibility for entry visas. Below, please find contact information for government agencies with responsibility for: (1) schools, colleges, and universities; (2) places of public accommodation such as trade shows; and (3) eligibility for visas to enter the U.S.

Schools, Colleges, and Universities
U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Customer Service Team
330 C Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202
Phone: 1-800-421-3481

Places of Public Accommodation
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
Phone: 202-514-4713

Issuance of Entry Visas
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Phone: 202-663-1225

We hope this information is helpful to you. Please keep in mind that this communication does not constitute legal advice or an official opinion of the EEOC.


Dianna B. Johnston
Assistant Legal Counsel
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(202) 663-4657

This page was last modified on April 27, 2007.