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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


WASHINGTON -- Ida L. Castro was sworn-in on Monday, December 14, 1998, by Vice-President Al Gore as the Chairwoman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the first Hispanic female to serve in this capacity. Ms. Castro was nominated by President Clinton on April 2 and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 21. She fills the vacancy left by Gilbert F. Casellas, who resigned as Chairman at the end of 1997.

In swearing in Ms. Castro as Chairwoman, Vice President Al Gore remarked, "Ida has continually knocked down the barriers to her own advancement and has made a life's work of tearing down these barriers for others." The Vice President added, "Whether it is for men or women, or for immigrants of all backgrounds, Ida has been a tireless champion for justice and fair treatment."

"I look forward to our work together to ensure that EEOC is the premier civil rights enforcement agency," Ms. Castro remarked at her swearing-in ceremony at the Old Executive Office Building. In addressing those in attendance at the ceremony, Ms. Castro said, "It is my sincere hope that today marks the beginning of our journey together, and I hope to fulfill your expectations."

Ms. Castro assumes the leadership of the EEOC simultaneous with a 15 percent increase in the agency's budget for Fiscal Year 1999, which began October 1. The Omnibus Appropriations Bill passed by Congress on October 21 funds the agency at a level of $279 million, consistent with the President's Civil Rights Initiative for the year.

Ms. Castro brings to the Commission a well-established commitment to equal opportunity for all Americans; a recognized track-record in effective, innovative leadership and management; and a successful career in reaching common ground on complex employment issues. Since 1994, she has served the Administration in several high-level positions dealing with critical labor and workplace issues.

From 1996 to the present, Ms. Castro served as the Acting Director of the Women's Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), where she was responsible for formulating standards and policies that promote the welfare of wage-earning women.

From 1994 to 1996, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary, DOL, and Director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, where she managed a staff of 1,500 and a budget of over $8 billion. Her leadership and management skills -- with an emphasis on results, responsiveness to the public, and cutting-edge methods to enhance operational efficiency -- earned two coveted "Hammer Awards" from the Office of the Vice President.

Prior to her work for the Administration, Ms. Castro was Senior Legal Counsel for Legal Affairs for the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation from 1990 to 1994. From 1988 to 1990, she served as Special Counsel to the President and Director of Labor Relations at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York.

Ms. Castro practiced employment, labor, and public interest law in New York and New Jersey from 1983 to 1990. She was the first Hispanic woman to earn tenure as an Associate Professor of Rutgers University, Institute for Management and Labor Relations, where she developed and taught courses from 1976 to 1983 on workplace sexual harassment, equal employment opportunity law, and Alternative Dispute Resolution methods. She received a B.A. degree from the University of Puerto Rico, and M.A. and J.D. degrees from Rutgers University of New Jersey. Among her many accomplishments, she became the youngest and only female cabinet member in Carolina, Puerto Rico, at age 20.

EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals 40 years of age or older; sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991; the Equal Pay Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the federal government.

Further information about EEOC is available on the agency's Internet web site at

This page was last modified on December 17, 1998.