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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


New Web Site, National Outreach and Partnerships to Focus on Emerging Issue

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the implementation of its "Youth@Work" initiative, an unprecedented national outreach and education campaign designed to proactively prevent discrimination against teenage workers. Information about the initiative can be found on EEOC's web site at

"Our Youth@Work initiative enlists a key ally the nation's next generation of workers in the battle against discrimination," said EEOC Vice Chair Naomi C. Earp during a kick-off event this morning at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. "Our goal is to empower these young workers as they enter and navigate the professional world so that they are confident in their rights and responsibilities at work. By way of this effort, our nation's youth will carry their knowledge of employment laws with them throughout their careers, effectively expanding the potential for equal opportunities."

The three main components of EEOC's Youth@Work initiative are a new youth web site at, dedicated to educating young workers about their equal employment opportunity rights and responsibilities; a series of national outreach events by EEOC Commissioners and field office staff for high school students, youth organizations, and small businesses who employ young workers; and partnerships with business leaders, human resource groups, and industry trade associations.

Vice Chair Earp, whose office is spearheading the initiative, noted that figures from the U.S. Department of Labor suggest that almost three million youth ages 15 to 17 work during the school year. During the summer months of June, July and August, the figure increases to at least four million.

Commission Chair Cari M. Dominguez commented: "We at the EEOC recognize and value the significant contributions that teenagers make to our nation's workplaces. From stocking shelves at bookstores to serving food at restaurants, all the jobs that teens do are an important component of the U.S. labor force. Therefore, we want to ensure that their workplace experience is a positive one."

In addition to today's launch event by Vice Chair Earp, the Commission is planning dozens of outreach events over the course of the next year to promote the Youth@Work initiative at the grassroots levels throughout the country. In the Washington, D.C. metro area, Chair Dominguez and EEOC Commissioners Leslie E. Silverman and Stuart J. Ishimaru will also host events at local high schools in the coming weeks to discuss the program. At the field office level, the Phoenix District Office will host a Youth@Work event on October 7 at Cholla High School in Tucson, Arizona. EEOC district offices in New York City, Miami, St. Louis, San Francisco, Detroit, San Antonio, Memphis, Philadelphia, and other major cities will also host events over the coming months.

EEOC's Youth@Work partners will likewise play a vital role in increasing public awareness about the federal anti-discrimination laws as they relate to teens in the workplace. The Commission will host a series of forums and roundtable discussions with business leaders, human resource groups, and industry trade associations to further explore the workplace trends and challenges affecting young workers.

The new Youth@Work web site, available online at, explains the different types of job discrimination that young workers may encounter and suggests strategies they can use to prevent, and, if necessary, respond to such discrimination. The site includes an interactive tool called "Challenge Yourself!" that provides an opportunity for teens to test their knowledge by analyzing sample job discrimination scenarios. The site, created with the assistance of student interns, also includes examples of recent EEOC cases involving workplace harassment of teens.

The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment or pregnancy) or national origin and protects employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which protects workers age 40 and older from discrimination based on age; the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits gender-based wage discrimination; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the federal sector; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Further information about the Commission is available on the agency's web site at

This page was last modified on September 21, 2004.