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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE         CONTACT:  John Rowe Thursday, October 21, 1999              Julianne Bowman                                                                       Chicago District Office                                         (312) 353-8550                                    TTY  (312) 353-2421                                                                                            Reginald Welch                                         Michael Widomski                                         EEOC Headquarters                                         (202) 663-4900                                    TTY  (202) 663-4494 


WASHINGTON -- As part of its continuing effort to reach out to agency stakeholders at the grassroots level, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will hold a meeting in Chicago next week to examine issues involving national origin discrimination. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 26, at 9:30 a.m. in the Harold Washington Social Security Center, First Floor Auditorium, 600 West Madison Street.

Alluding to a recent speech in which President Clinton said that building "one America" is the biggest challenge facing the nation in the next century, EEOC Chairwoman Ida L. Castro said that meeting such a challenge has "undergirded all we've done at the EEOC since we began operating some 35 years ago." She added: "It has always been appropriate to address national origin discrimination in the workplace. As census projections indicate that America's population growth will most likely come from immigrants, their children, and grandchildren, it is critical that we identify and rid our workplaces of the biases and stereotypes that all too often impact employment decisions."

The meeting will be conducted in two sessions, the first from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon, and the second from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. Each session will consist of a panel of expert witnesses who will testify on a number of issues related to national origin discrimination. Panelists will represent academia, advocacy groups, government, labor unions, and employers. Topics to be discussed include language and accent discrimination, economic issues including glass ceiling and low wage issues, worker exploitation, specific industry trends, demographic population changes, challenges faced by the immigrant community, limited job opportunities for minorities, and low job classification.

Since assuming leadership of the EEOC in October 1998, Ms. Castro has expanded the reach of the Commission to establish a more collaborative relationship with agency stakeholders. Accordingly, the Commission now uses its monthly meetings, both in and outside of Washington, to hear from stakeholder group representatives who present their views and make recommendations on how the agency can better serve its constituents.

The Commission has heard from the business community, labor unions, and advocacy groups for women, minorities, people with disabilities, and older workers. As a result of this dialogue, a number of suggestions by stakeholders have been incorporated into the agency's implementation of programs to expand mediation, enhance outreach to small and mid-sized employers, and increase education to under-served communities.

In addition to major outreach goals spelled out in the EEOC's National Enforcement Plan, each of the agency's 50 field offices has implemented Local Enforcement Plans at the grassroots level. Ms. Castro said, "Educating the public about its rights and responsibilities under the laws we enforce is a crucial element in the EEOC's goal of ensuring discrimination-free workplaces."

The 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, which protects workers 40 and older; the Equal Pay Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; prohibitions against discrimination affecting persons with disabilities in the federal government; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Additional information about the Commission is available on the agency's web site (

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This page was last modified on October 22, 1999.