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Press Release 12-01-1994


WASHINGTON -- At the first meeting of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) since April 12, 1994, new Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas announced the formation of three task forces to address critical issues facing the EEOC.

At Chairman Casellas' request, Vice Chairman Paul M. Igasaki will chair the Task Force on Charge Processing, Commissioner Joyce E. Tucker will chair the Task Force on Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs), and Commissioners Paul Steven Miller and R. Gaull Silberman will co-chair the Task Force on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Since arriving at EEOC on October 3, Casellas has been examining the agency's operations and considering various options for improvement. "I want these task forces to play a significant role in the development and implementation of a strategic plan to reduce the agency's pending charge inventory and to make it operate more effectively," said Chairman Casellas.

The Charge Processing Task Force will study ways to improve the current system, with the twin goals of reducing the existing number of pending charges and developing more effective and efficient procedures for resolving charges.

In urging that a "clean sheet" approach be taken, Casellas said the reviews should be done "with an eye toward improving efficiency, eliminating redundant or unnecessary steps, and reducing time, while ensuring due process for the individual charging parties and respondents."

The Fair Employment Practices Agencies Task Force will evaluate EEOC's partnership with these state and local agencies to ensure maximum effectiveness. EEOC has worksharing agreements with FEPAs around the country to process charges. In fiscal year (FY) 1994, FEPAs received 41 percent of a total of 155,612 charges filed under EEOC-enforced statutes.

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Task Force is asked to recommend appropriate options for the use of ADR by the Commission. The task force will base its recommendations on an evaluation of the EEOC pilot ADR program and its review of the many existing studies of ADR.

Chairman Casellas has asked that the Charge Processing and the ADR Task Forces prepare recommendations to the Commission within 90 days, and the FEPA Task Force to present its recommendations within 60 days.

Today's meeting coincides with the release of information on EEOC's enforcement activity during FY 1994, which ended only days prior to Casellas' arrival at the agency. The report from last year "reinforces the need for bold initiatives to improve the way we serve those who come to us for help," Casellas said.

FY 1994 marked the third year in a row that the agency received a record breaking number of charges alleging job bias, increasing the number of charges awaiting investigation to nearly 97,000 at the end of FY 1994.

Chairman Casellas reported that EEOC received 91,189 new charges of discrimination between Oct. 1, 1993 and Sept. 30, 1994 -- 3.7 percent over the record number of 87,942 charge receipts in FY 1993 (see Table 1)(1). The EEOC's pending inventory of 96,945 charges represents a 32.6 percent increase over the pending 73,124 charges at the end of FY 1993 (see Table 2).

The most significant increases from FY 1993 in discrimination charges by basis include disability related charges, up 23.5 percent, and retaliation based charges, up 14.2 percent. There were also increases in sex and religion based charges, as well as a small increase in charges filed under the Equal Pay Act. Race, age, and national origin based charges declined slightly from last year's totals (see Table 3).

Discharge continues to be the most often alleged employment discrimination issue, comprising 47 percent of all charges in FY 1994, down slightly by 1.9 percent from FY 1993. Other issues that decreased in frequency in FY 1994 were hiring and layoff, down 8.2 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively. Issues showing an increase over FY 1993 figures are sexual harassment (+13.2 percent), harassment of a non-sexual nature (+12.5 percent), and terms and conditions of employment (+10.4 percent) (see Table 4).

Investigators resolved 71,563 charges in FY 1994, the second highest number of resolutions in EEOC's history and only 153 fewer than last year's record total.

Monetary benefits to victims of discrimination obtained through administrative enforcement efforts reached an all time high of $146.3 million, compared to $126.8 million in FY 1993.

Preliminary data from the Office of General Counsel show the Commission filed 428 lawsuits and resolved 456 in FY 1994. Monetary benefits of $29.2 million were recovered through litigation, primarily in the form of back pay, down from the FY 1993 total of $34.4 million.

EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Equal Pay Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; prohibitions against discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal government; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

Table 1. Comparison of Receipts (2)

Table 2. Pending Inventory

Table 3. Basis

Table 4. Issues

1. The statistics to follow represent charges filed with and processed by EEOC only. They do not include charges received and processed by FEPAs.

2. Data were compiled on 11/15/94 by the Office of Program Operations from EEOC's Charge Data System's National Data Base. EEOC's computerized Charge Data System is continually updated as data are submitted to EEOC headquarters by EEOC field offices around the country; therefore, statistics may change slightly over time.

3. FY 1993 was the first full year EEOC enforced Title I of the ADA.