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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE              CONTACT:   Claire Gonzales April 16, 1996                                Reginald Welch                                               (202) 663-4900                                               TDD:   (202) 663-4494 


WASHINGTON -- On Thursday, April 18, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas will deliver remarks on affirmative action, an issue which is fast becoming one of the nation's most hotly debated, at the 22nd Annual Conference of the American Association for Affirmative Action in Philadelphia.

Chairman Casellas will address a conference plenary session at 9:30 a.m. The three-day event (April 17 - 20), entitled "Responding to the Challenge," will take place at the Adam's Mark Philadelphia Hotel, at City Avenue and Monument Road.

The Association was founded in 1974 to "promote understanding and advocacy of affirmative action to enhance access and equity in employment, economics, and educational opportunities." It is comprised of organizations and individuals from the public and private sectors who are dedicated to the development of equal employment opportunity programs.

Gilbert F. Casellas was nominated by President Clinton on July 1, 1994, and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on September 29, 1994, to serve as EEOC Chairman. Prior to his appointment at EEOC, Mr. Casellas served as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of the Air Force, a partner in the Philadelphia law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, and taught at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Since arriving at the EEOC, Chairman Casellas has led an unprecedented reform effort to reinvent and streamline EEOC operations for processing charges of employment discrimination. The initiative, which has already begun to reduce the huge pending inventory of private sector charges, has included the introduction of Priority Charge Handling Procedures, a National Enforcement Plan, and alternative dispute resolution techniques into the agency's private sector charge process.

On October 27, 1995, Chairman Casellas was presented with the Clarence Farmer Service Award by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations for his outstanding work in eliminating barriers to equal opportunity and opening doors to minorities in the legal profession. In recognition of the agency's nationwide labor management partnership led by Chairman Casellas, EEOC was presented with the Hammer Award by Vice President Gore's National Performance Review on March 14, 1996.

While in Philadelphia, Chairman Casellas will also meet with EEOC employees of the Philadelphia District Office to discuss agency operations and the implementation status of the new charge processing reforms. The office was recently relocated to 21 South Fifth Street, The Boarse Building, Suite 400, in downtown Philadelphia.

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.

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