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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 letter to respond to a request for public comment from a federal agency or department. This letter is an informal discussion of the noted issue and does not constitute an official opinion of the Commission.

Title VII/ADEA/GINA: Know Your Rights Pamphlet

July 6, 2015



Kari Johnstone
Acting Director
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking In Persons
Department of State
1800 G Street N.W., Suite 2148
Washington, D.C., 20502

Re: Revisions to the "Know Your Rights" Pamphlet

Dear Ms. Johnstone:

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) submits these comments in response to the Department of State's request for comments concerning revisions to the "Know Your Rights" Pamphlet created pursuant to the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Act. 80 FR 31488 (June 2, 2015). The EEOC offers these comments as the federal agency responsible for enforcing the federal equal employment opportunity laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability, and genetic information.(1) The laws enforced by EEOC also prohibit retaliation for filing a discrimination complaint, participating in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise opposing discrimination.(2)

 We recommend that the Department of State revise the Wilberforce Pamphlet in several places in the "Your Rights Regardless of Visa Status" section.

First, we recommend a revision on page 7 in section 3 to include two additional prohibited forms of employment discrimination. In addition to the bases of discrimination listed in the first bullet, we suggest the Department add "age (40 or older)" and "genetic information (including family medical history)." These bases also should be added to the next bullet at the top of page 8.(3)

Additionally, we recommend a clarification on page 8 in section 4. The language regarding "sexual or offensive comments" should be revised to read "offensive sexual or gender-based comments."(4)

Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Please feel free to contact Corbett Anderson, Assistant Legal Counsel, at (202) 663-4579, or Senior Attorney Advisor Mary Kay Mauren at (202) 663-4643 if you have any questions.


Peggy R. Mastroianni
Legal Counsel


1 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act 1967, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.; 29 U.S.C. § 791; the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d); and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, 42 U.S.C. § 2000ff.

2 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a); 29 U.S.C. § 623(d); 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3); 42 U.S.C. § 2000ff-6(f). 

3 See Department of State, Know Your Rights Pamphlet, "Your Rights Regardless of Visa Status," Section 3. (Your Right Not to be Discriminated Against).

4 See Department of State, Know Your Rights Pamphlet, "Your Rights Regardless of Visa Status," Section 4. (Your Rights as a Woman Worker).

This page was last modified on August 13, 2015.