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Tribal Programs

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TERO Partnerships 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) partners with Tribal Employment Rights Offices (TEROs) to protect the employment rights of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. 

As specified in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Tribal governments have the inherent sovereign power to regulate commercial dealings by all entities within their jurisdictions, which gives them the authority to require employers on the reservations to provide preference to Indians in employment and business opportunities. 

TEROs assist the EEOC in carrying out the Commission’s responsibilities by ensuring that Native Americans and Alaska Natives know, understand and exercise their rights as they relate to, not only Indian preference requirements on reservations, but also other workplace issues such as harassment and different terms and conditions of employment. 

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EEOC - TERO

In instances involving potential employment discrimination on or near reservations, TEROs are equipped to respond and refer cases to the EEOC as appropriate.  The EEOC contracts with the TEROs and provides financial assistance to help support accessibility, training, outreach, and other programmatic needs.

In order to contract with the EEOC, certain criteria must be met. Please see the Contract Qualification for TEROs document.

The EEOC is interested in strengthening the enforcement relationship with Tribal governments by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Tribal nations that further enhances our work together.  Please note this Model MOU may be revised through a collaborative process. Memorandum of Understanding Between the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the ______ Nation/Tribe

Frequently Asked Questions About Indian Tribes and Tribal Employment Rights Offices

Tribal Consultations and Collaboration

On January 26, 2021, President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships. This memorandum directs federal agencies to submit, within 90 days of the date of the memorandum, a “detailed plan of actions” to implement the policies and directives of Executive Order 13175, which calls for “regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials in the development of Federal policies that have tribal implications, to strengthen the United States government-to-government relationships with Indian tribes, and to reduce the imposition of unfunded mandates upon Indian tribes.” 

The EEOC is committed to working with Indian tribes in a manner that respects Tribal self-government and sovereignty, honors Tribal treaty and other rights, and meets the Federal Government’s Tribal trust responsibilities.

The EEOC in consultation with Indian tribes seeks to identify ways to provide information and access to our services.

The EEOC, jointly with the U.S. Department of Labor, consulted with Tribal Leaders in April 2021, regarding each agency’s Tribal Consultation process.  As a result of the feedback received from the Tribes, the EEOC developed a Plan of Action for Tribal matters as well as a Tribal Consultation Process, which describes the process for engaging in consultation with the Tribes. 

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility

In line with the EEOC’s priorities to protect the rights of vulnerable workers and underserved communities, as well as the Executive Orders on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through Federal Government and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce, the EEOC is committed to working with Tribal leadership, Tribal organizations, federal partners and other stakeholders to ensure equal opportunity in employment for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government | The White House

Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce | The White House

EEOC Strategic Enforcement Plan

The EEOC’s State, Local and Tribal Programs Coordinators/Program Managers in our field offices around the country serve as the EEOC liaisons with the FEPAs and TEROs.

A Message from the Chair—Native American Heritage Month (November 2021)

Other Resources

Council for Tribal Employment Rights (CTER)

Society of American Indian Government Employees

OFCCP / Indian and Native American Employment Rights Program

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)