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Press Release 01-15-1997


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Topics Include `Glass Ceiling' Issue, Announcement of EEOC Lawsuit

SEATTLE -- Paul M. Igasaki, Vice Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), will preside over a roundtable discussion on the "glass ceiling" Tuesday, July 9, from 9 a.m. to noon at the North Auditorium of the Jackson Federal Building, 915 Second Avenue. Immediately following the session, he will be available to discuss with reporters this and other priority national enforcement issues being focused on by the Commission.

Participants in the roundtable will include representatives from El Centro de la Raza, the Washington Commission on African American Affairs, Northwest Women's Law Center, Washington State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Washington Women Lawyers, the Asian American Bar Association, and EEOC's Seattle District Office. The Seattle office enforces federal anti-employment discrimination laws in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.

The "glass ceiling," a term used to describe the discriminatory, artificial barrier that hinders the advancement of women and minorities to upper level job positions, will be the subject of written and oral input by roundtable members.

Igasaki will also announce the filing of a disability discrimination lawsuit against a major employer in the Seattle region (copies of a press release about the lawsuit will be available at the meeting). The basis and issues in the suit coincide with the priority issues included in EEOC's National Enforcement Plan (NEP). The plan sets out national priorities for cases that have significant impact. It also provides for the inclusion of important local issues that are consistent with the NEP. These local issues are identified by the Seattle office and other EEOC offices across the country.

Igasaki, the first Asian American EEOC Vice Chairman, will be in Seattle through July 10 as part of the Commission's education and outreach efforts. Such efforts bring agency officials in contact with a broad range of agency stakeholders for the purpose of exchanging information about employment discrimination issues and the manner in which those issues might be addressed.

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