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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: Non-covered Employer

August 6, 2002

Dear :

This is in response to your letter of July 14, 2002, addressed to Cari M. Dominguez, Chair of the Equal Employment Commission (EEOC). The Chair has asked me to respond directly to you.

Specifically, you state that in 1998 you were sexually harassed by an employer that employed only six employees and describe the difficulties that you have experienced in trying to combat this alleged behavior. You ask that we change the definition of "employer" in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq, to cover employers that employ fewer than fifteen people.

Congress has charged the EEOC with responsibility for enforcing, among other laws, Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, and national origin, as well as sex. Although EEOC shares your concerns about preventing and correcting workplace harassment, our authority is confined to enforcing the law. Congress is the branch of government that has the authority to enact or amend laws. Thus, although we understand your frustration, the changes that you request are beyond the jurisdiction of the EEOC. You may choose to direct your concerns to your congressional representatives.

Thank you for your inquiry. We hope that this information is helpful to you. Please note that this letter does not constitute an opinion or interpretation of the Commission as intended in § 713(b) of Title VII.


Dianna B. Johnston

Assistant Legal Counsel
Title VII/EPA Division

This page was last modified on April 27, 2007.