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Systemic Discrimination

Systemic discrimination involves a pattern or practice, policy, or class case where the alleged discrimination has a broad impact on an industry, profession, company or geographic area.

The EEOC encourages employers to prevent discrimination by taking a careful look at the practices they use to recruit, hire, promote, train and retain employees. The EEOC is expanding its efforts to partner with advocacy groups, state and federal agencies, employer groups, the plaintiffs' bar and other organizations to identify and address discriminatory practices.

Examples of systemic practices include: discriminatory barriers in recruitment and hiring; discriminatorily restricted access to management trainee programs and to high level jobs; exclusion of qualified women from traditionally male dominated fields of work; disability discrimination such as unlawful pre-employment inquiries; age discrimination in reductions in force and retirement benefits; and compliance with customer preferences that result in discriminatory placement or assignments.

The EEOC has long recognized that a strong nationwide systemic program is critical to fulfilling its mission of eradicating discrimination in the workplace. For this reason, the systemic program is a top priority of the agency. The identification, investigation and litigation of systemic discrimination cases, along with efforts to educate employers and encourage prevention, are integral to the mission of the EEOC.