The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has developed a new section on its Internet Web site that provides an extensive look at the agency's 35-year history, including the laws it enforces, key court rulings, annual milestones, photographs, and video and audio clips. The new Web site section, which commemorates EEOC's 35th anniversary, can be accessed at

"We hope that the young and old will visit our Web site and access valuable information regarding civil rights at the workplace," said EEOC Chairwoman Ida L. Castro. "The new 35th anniversary section will not only engage and educate the public about the Commission's proud legacy of achievement, it will also serve as an invaluable electronic archive. It will allow future generations to familiarize themselves with the challenges faced and obstacles overcome during the first 35 years of EEOC's existence." The 35th anniversary section of EEOC's Web site includes five main segments:

"This special addition to our Web site highlights the crucial role EEOC has played in ensuring America's promise of equal opportunity in the workplace," Ms. Castro added. "Although we have made great strides over the years, we are cognizant of the long road ahead and are ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

On Tuesday, September 26, EEOC held a public Commission Meeting in commemoration of the agency's 35th anniversary. During the meeting, the Commission heard from three panels. The first was comprised of former Chairpersons Stephen Shulman (1966-1967), Clifford Alexander (1967-1969), and The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton (1977-1981). These early agency heads discussed their tenures at the Commission, focusing on Congressional legislation and Executive Orders which expanded EEOC's statutory jurisdiction and enforcement authority.

As she welcomed the distinguished panelists and long-standing civil rights activists and employees, Ms. Castro called on all EEOC stakeholders and staff to redouble their collective efforts to eliminate employment discrimination in the new millennium: "We need to work together to build on the successes of the past and continue to carry out EEOC's noble mission so that every worker in the country is afforded the opportunity to fulfill the American dream."

A second group of panelists, current and former EEOC officials, discussed how relations between agency headquarters and field office staff have evolved over the years to enhance overall enforcement through implementation of the Priority Charge Handling Procedures (1995), National Enforcement Plan and Local Enforcement Plans (1996), and the Comprehensive Enforcement Program (1999). The CEP was implemented by Chairwoman Castro to increase the collaboration between attorneys and investigators for greater efficiency and effectiveness in processing discrimination charges.

A third panel consisting of stakeholders representing the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and American Bar Association (ABA) discussed their organizations' ongoing partnerships with EEOC, which have resulted in an open dialogue and greater coordination on key civil rights and workplace issues. The panel also included the primary researcher of an independent report evaluating EEOC's National Mediation Program. The comprehensive survey found, among other things, that over 90% of employers and charging parties who participated in EEOC mediation would do so again if party to a discrimination charge (the report is available on the Commission's Web site at

The Commission also received special 35th anniversary messages from President Clinton and Vice President Gore. In his message, the President called upon Congress to provide for the effective enforcement of the nation's civil rights laws by fully funding EEOC's budget request for FY 2001 of $322 million, a 14% increase over the level enacted in FY 2000.

Tuesday's celebration followed a series of events this year held at field offices across the country to commemorate the agency's 35th anniversary and reaffirm EEOC's commitment to eradicating workplace discrimination. The events were designed to educate the public about the rich heritage of civil rights and to highlight EEOC's role in enforcement and discrimination prevention.

On July 2, 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which created the EEOC, was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the East Room of the White House. On this same date one year later, the EEOC opened its doors to begin carrying out the Congressional mandate to eliminate employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Since EEOC became operational on July 2, 1965, Congress has expanded the agency's enforcement jurisdiction to encompass other civil rights laws. In addition to Title VII, the EEOC enforces the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which protects individuals 40 years of age or older from workplace discrimination; the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 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, which, among other provisions, stipulates the payment of monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination.

This page was last modified on September 28, 2000.

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