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Press Release 11-19-2020

EEOC General Counsel Holds Dialogue Sessions on Religious Discrimination with Agency Stakeholders

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) general counsel held a series of dialogue sessions this week to highlight the EEOC’s efforts on behalf of individuals facing religious discrimination and invite input from stakeholders on how the EEOC can improve its development and litigation of religious discrimination claims.

The sessions were conducted by EEOC General Counsel Sharon Fast Gustafson through the general counsel’s Religious Discrimination Work Group, chaired by Assistant General Counsel Christine Lambrou Johnson. Religious leaders, advocacy groups and faith-based nonprofits participated in three days of tele-meetings hosted by the EEOC’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) to hear from the general counsel and offer insights into EEOC efforts to prevent and remedy religious discrimination.

“The EEOC is in a unique position to help people who experience employment-related religious discrimination,” said General Counsel Gustafson. “I have made it a priority to under­stand better the full range of religious discrimination that employees experience and the EEOC’s response to claims of religious discrimination — from charge filing through conciliation and litigation. It is my hope that these sessions and the work of the work group will signal to every­one in the American workplace that the EEOC will protect employees of all religious persuasions from religious discrimination in employment.”

Commissioner Andrea Lucas, who also participated in the sessions, said, “Religious discrim­ination in employment is just as odious as discrimination on the basis of race, sex and other character­istics protected by statutes enforced by the Commission. The EEOC’s pursuit of its mission to protect workers against religious discrimination also preserves and enforces, in a very practical and real way, this nation’s founding commitment to religious liberty. I intend to make the protection of all workers from religious discrimination in the workplace a high priority.”

Established in May 2020, the work group is comprised of EEOC attorneys, deputy direc­tors, investigators, data analysts and training and outreach liaisons from across the country. The work group is working to identify any practical or legal impediments that prevent individuals from filing complaints of religious discrimination with the EEOC.

The OGC is made up of 15 regional offices as well as several field offices and local offices across the nation. The general counsel oversees and conducts the EEOC’s litigation. Her office works with the investigatory and enforcement side of the EEOC to develop cases and promote conciliation and settlement.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ­ment discrimination. More information is available at  Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.