Press Release


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


National Retail Federation President and CEO, Tracy Mullin (left) shakes hands with EEOC Vice Chair Naomi C. Earp


Latest Commission Youth@Work Alliance Deemed 'Crucial' as Summer Approaches

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world's largest retail trade association, today launched an important partnership effort to raise awareness about issues affecting young workers in the retail industry. The new alliance is part of the EEOC's Youth@Work initiative, a national outreach and information campaign to educate teenagers about their employment rights and responsibilities.

Noting that the number of young people entering the workforce increases by more than two million over the summer, EEOC Vice Chair Naomi C. Earp, whose office is leading the Youth@Work initiative, said: "This new alliance is especially crucial during the summer months when employment among young people increases dramatically. As millions of high school and college students enter the labor force this summer, we want to ensure that their work experience is a positive one. We commend the National Retail Federation for helping us promote fair and inclusive work environments for our nation's youth this summer and beyond."

Last summer, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 21.4 million young people aged 16 to 24 were employed, with 20% working in the retail industry. NRF will play a key role in the EEOC's Youth@Work program by reaching out to its members, who comprise all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet and independent stores as well as the industry's key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.4 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 23 million employees about one in five American workers and 2004 sales of $4.1 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF's members include all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants and grocery stores. NRF also represents more than 100 state, national, and international retail associations. Additional information about the National Retail Federation is available on its web site at

"We commend the EEOC for creating the Youth@Work initiative," said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. "The retail industry is a gateway for many young people entering the workforce for the first time. Understanding the rights and responsibilities that come with employment is critical to their success and professional growth."

As part of its Youth@Work initiative, the EEOC is building partnerships with business leaders, human resource groups, and industry trade associations to further explore the workplace trends and challenges affecting young workers. Today's partnership announcement follows the November 2004 launch of the EEOC's first Youth@Work joint venture with the National Restaurant Association. Among the activities the EEOC and its Youth@Work partners hope to engage in are:

  • Hosting a series of forums, roundtable discussions, and other joint events;
  • Linking to EEOC's Youth@Work web site;
  • Discussing the initiative with industry trade association members and their employees;
  • Holding training sessions on the federal anti-discrimination laws;
  • Publishing articles in organizational newsletters;
  • Participating in Youth@Work events throughout the country.
In addition to seeking partnerships with the private sector, the two other main components of the EEOC's Youth@Work initiative are: a youth web site at (English) or (Spanish) dedicated to educating young workers about their equal employment opportunity rights and responsibilities; and a series of free national outreach events by EEOC Commissioners and field office staff for high school students, youth organizations, educators, and small businesses who employ young workers. Employers or organizations interested in forming Youth@Work partnerships with the EEOC should e-mail the organization's name, address, telephone number, and email address to:

The EEOC is the federal government agency responsible for enforcing the nation's anti-discrimination laws in employment based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, retaliation, age and disability. Further information about the Commission is available on the agency's web site at

This page was last modified on June 29, 2005.