CHICAGO -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced a record-breaking $2.5 million voluntary settlement of claims of national origin discrimination against Commonwealth Edison Company ("ComEd") filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The agreement resolves charges that ComEd discriminated against certain Latino employees in selections for middle management positions. "This record agreement demonstrates ComEd's willingness to address early on the important glass ceiling concerns brought by Hispanic employees," said EEOC Chairwoman Ida L. Castro. "Rather than await lengthy litigation, Commonwealth Edison stepped up its collaborative efforts with our Chicago office. The resulting agreement potentially will compensate and/or promote a significant class of Hispanic men and women managers based on their talents and skills, not their national origin."
Ms Castro added: "Glass ceilings must be removed in order to permit unburdened growth for employees regardless of their national origin. I hope that employers throughout the country will look at this settlement and replicate the goals contained in the agreement, thereby opening new doors of opportunity to all employees and reaping the benefits."
In addition to potential monetary compensation for a class of Latino workers, the settlement calls for ComEd to offer immediate promotions to certain Latino employees and implement other steps to prevent employment discrimination. The settlement concludes an EEOC investigation of charges filed by six Hispanic current and former employees of the company. The employees alleged that ComEd denied them promotional opportunities.
The agreement allows ComEd Hispanic management employees who believe they were denied promotions because of their national origin to submit their claims to an independent panel of three outside experts appointed by the EEOC and ComEd to implement the agreement. The panel is authorized to make back pay awards and require promotions if it determines that any employees who submit claim forms were denied promotions because of their national origin. ComEd will establish a settlement fund of up to $1.75 million to satisfy any back pay awards made by the panel. EEOC estimates that over one hundred current and former ComEd employees are eligible to file claims with the Panel. The wide-ranging agreement also requires ComEd to modify its promotion procedures and establishes goals for increasing the presence of Hispanics in senior positions.
Commenting on the settlement, John P. Rowe, Director of EEOC's Chicago District Office, noted, "This is an excellent result for everyone concerned -- for the employees, for the EEOC, and for the public. We believe it also represents a very enlightened response by ComEd."
He continued: "Many major employers have significant challenges and problems in the area of equal employment opportunity, and they tend to react either by spending their resources and time to resist making necessary changes, or by being more forthcoming in seeking to resolve issues. In this case, ComEd approached us early in our investigation to express its willingness to discuss a negotiated settlement. What followed was a period of months of intensive negotiations, culminating in a settlement with which we are all very satisfied. And all this came without the years of delay, expense and hostility that litigation would have engendered. We congratulate the new management at ComEd for their willingness to resolve past issues and focus on needed future progress."
EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Equal Pay Act; 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; prohibitions against discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal government; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Further information about the Commission is available on the agency's Web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on November 3, 2000.
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