The best way to combat workplace discrimination is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Educating employers and workers about their rights and responsibilities under the law is the first step toward an inclusive work culture - where all workers are judged on their talents and abilities, without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, age, or disability.
A strong prevention program helps employers comply with the law and breaks down barriers to employment opportunities. Through outreach and education, we seek to prevent unlawful exclusionary practices from taking root. Through new and innovative proactive approaches, we believe we are helping move toward sound workplace practices that foster a level playing field and allow the best talent to emerge. Encouraging inclusive, equal opportunity workplaces is a powerful prevention strategy.
For our Inclusive Workplace Strategic Objective, we strive to achieve increased voluntary compliance with the Federal equal employment laws and increased individual awareness and understanding of rights and responsibilities. With these broad goals, our measures and strategies focus on one point of our Five-Point Plan: Proactive Prevention.
|Organizational Excellence FY 2005 Performance|
|Total FY 2005 Investment: $13 million|
||Targets Partially Met1
||Targets Not Met
The Commission's outreach programs reached 353,987 persons. Field and headquarters
offices participated in 5,505 educational, training, and outreach events. This
is an increase in the number of events over the same period in FY 2004, when
there were 5,340. Specific events included oral presentations; training sessions,
including Revolving Fund events; stakeholder input meetings; and expanded presence
activities that provided individual counseling and assistance to underserved
constituents. These four major types of educational events reached 198,838 persons.
The Denver District Office provided Spanish-speaking staff to two mobile consulates sponsored by the Consulado General de Mexico. Staff distributed materials on and answered questions about EEO issues. Of the more than 900 people who attended, many spoke only Spanish.
Also, our offices distributed information materials on EEO laws and represented the Commission at 611 other public events that reached an additional 77,206 people. These events included information booths at job fairs, conventions, cultural expositions, and conferences. Through participation in many community organization meetings, informational materials were distributed to another 76,643 people. We also made 764 media presentations, including radio and TV interviews, talk shows, and press conferences that provided substantive EEO information to over a million stakeholders.
Our performance measures for Proactive Prevention focus on increasing voluntary compliance with Federal equal employment laws and individual awareness of rights and responsibilities.
Our website, www.eeoc.gov, provides current news and important information. The site averages approximately 575,000 visits per month. In FY 2005, we launched a Spanish-language website: www.eeoc.gov/es/.
Measure 2.1.1 affords us an opportunity to determine the percentage of employers who improve their workplaces as a result of their participation in one of our outreach or technical assistance programs. In FY 2005, we were able to establish a baseline for this measure as well as target values for the coming years, with a final goal for FY 2009 to measure our results for these types of outreach and training programs. Our FY 2005 data show that 91.2% of participants indicated they made an improvement in their employment policies, practices, or procedures as a result of previously attending our free or fee-based outreach activities and training. This demonstrates the far-reaching impact that these efforts have on the workplace: to ensure that it provides a fair and equal chance for all employees. Highlights of our major outreach initiatives for FY 2005 follow.
The St. Louis District Office established a quarterly electronic bulletin that is sent to all chambers of commerce in their Kansas, Illinois and Missouri jurisdiction. This bulletin provides updates about EEOC regulations, guidance, reports, court cases and decisions, and other news.
Small Business Outreach: The Commission is working cooperatively and collaboratively with the small business community to proactively prevent employment discrimination and promote voluntary compliance. We recognize that many small businesses do not have separate human resources and legal staff to guide them through the regulatory process. Therefore, it is important to establish open lines of communication and provide the necessary training and tools to ensure that small employers comply with the law. As such, EEOC District Offices conducted 479 no-cost outreach events directed toward small businesses in FY 2005, including several events under the President's New Freedom Initiative (NFI). Events included oral presentations, training, and stakeholder input meetings that reached 21,919 small business representatives. An additional 2,753 small business representatives attended Revolving Fund events. Mediation, EEOC overview, sexual harassment, charge processing, Title VII, and the ADA were the most popular topics for small business audiences.
In a report issued in FY 2005, the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) National Ombudsman awarded the agency a rating of "A," the highest rating awarded. For the second year in a row the National Ombudsman's FY 2004 Report to Congress gave the EEOC high marks for its compliance assistance to small business. In particular, the report citedthe efforts of the St. Louis District Office for its outreach efforts to the Joplin, Missouri, Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center at Missouri Southern State University. The report also lauded the EEOC's efforts to integrate information about regulatory enforcement fairness into our interactions with small businesses. We are proud of this recognition and continue to enhance our efforts to provide small businesses with the information they need to comply with Federal EEO laws and implement sound workplace practices.
Mediation Outreach: In FY 2005, EEOC offices conducted 489 outreach events directed toward the private-sector employer community to promote our mediation program. Events included workshops, mock mediations, and panel discussions with employer representatives as well as representatives from the plaintiff and defense bar.
"My company will be opening several new stores throughout New Jersey
in the next year, and this video will present an excellent training opportunity
for my management staff."
Human Resources Manager
Christmas Tree Shops
We also developed new promotional materials, including a video that describes the benefits of mediation to the employer community. The materials were used in EEOC's outreach and education programs throughout the country. The 14-minute video aims to encourage more employers to participate in EEOC's National Mediation Program. It features interviews with employers and employer representatives that have used the agency's program and found it useful in resolving employment disputes. We offered a free copy of the video on compact disk to those visiting our home page at www.eeoc.gov and received over 1,600 requests in FY 2005, with more arriving every day. Responses to the mediation video have been very positive.
Freedom to Compete Initiative: In 2002, EEOC launched the Freedom to Compete Initiative, a national outreach, education, and coalition-building effort designed to complement our enforcement and litigation activities. Freedom to Compete seeks to build partnerships and strategic alliances with groups and organizations not traditionally engaged with the agency, with the ultimate goal of promoting equal employment opportunity and removing workplace barriers.
In 2005, the Commission awarded its first Freedom to Compete Awards to recognize individuals and organizations that have demonstrated exemplary efforts in promoting free and unfettered access to opportunities in the workplace. The award is the culmination, in many ways, of a three-part approach the Commission is using to help tear down barriers and improve America's workplaces. The first is heightening awareness of the problem. The second is enforcing the laws. And the third-and most overlooked element-is recognizing and rewarding good practices, which is where the Freedom to Compete Awards play such a vital role.
The awards have two key characteristics. First, we do not focus on a company in general, but on particular practices and initiatives and the results they generate. Second, we strive to recognize employers that may not have the resources and infrastructure of Fortune 500 companies, especially since we are aware that more than half of our complaint activity comes from small and mid-sized employers.
We presented our first Freedom to Compete Awards in June 2005 to a diverse group of companies, associations, and individuals:
Youth@Work: In September 2004, we announced our Youth@Work Initiative to promote equal employment opportunity for our Nation's next generation of workers. This innovative national outreach and education campaign is designed to educate young workers about their workplace rights and responsibilities.
The Youth@Work website http://www.youth.eeoc.gov is dedicated to educating young workers about their equal employment opportunity rights and responsibilities. The website explains the different types of job discrimination that young workers may encounter and suggests strategies they can use to prevent, and, if necessary, respond to such discrimination. The site includes an interactive tool called "Challenge Yourself!" that provides an opportunity for young workers to test their knowledge by analyzing sample job discrimination scenarios. The site, created with the assistance of EEOC student interns, also includes examples of recent cases involving workplace harassment of young workers. A Spanish-language version of the website debuted in June 2005 at http://www.youth.eeoc.gov/es.
Throughout FY 2005, EEOC Commissioners and field office staff hosted free outreach events for high school students, youth organizations, and small businesses that employ young workers.
"As the next generation of managers, business leaders,
and entrepreneurs, young workers will carry the information they learn from
our agency with them throughout their professional careers."
Naomi C. Earp
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
For example, in December 2004, the EEOC hosted a press conference in Washington, D.C., for high school journalists from across the country. Students from more than 60 high schools in 16 states and the District of Columbia discussed teen workplace harassment and discrimination with the EEOC Commissioners, an EEOC District Director, and a workplace sexual harassment victim and her private attorney. These events, which include information about the laws enforced by EEOC, and the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, are aimed at assisting young workers as they enter and navigate the professional world and encouraging employers to proactively address discrimination issues confronting young workers.
The initiative also emphasizes partnering with industry trade associations, human resources organizations, and individual employers to further explore the workplace trends and challenges affecting young workers. Our Youth@Work partners play a vital role in increasing public awareness about Federal anti-discrimination laws by putting a Youth@Work link on their websites, publishing articles on the initiative in their newsletters, discussing the initiative with their members or employees, or participating in Youth@Work events throughout the country. The first national Youth@Work partnership agreement was forged with the National Restaurant Association in November 2004, and the second agreement was signed with the National Retail Association in June 2005. EEOC field offices also developed successful partnerships with various local civil rights, education, and business organizations.
New Freedom Initiative: In 2001, President Bush launched the New Freedom Initiative (NFI), a comprehensive strategy to achieve full integration of individuals with disabilities into all aspects of the Nation's social and economic life. As the agency responsible for enforcing the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), EEOC is actively involved in advancing the initiative. During FY 2004, we began to develop a series of documents in question-and-answer format that explain how the ADA applies in the workplace to individuals with particular disabilities. Last year we published documents on diabetes and epilepsy. This year, we added Q&A fact sheets on intellectual disabilities and cancer. Additional fact sheets are planned for FY 2006.
In October 2004, the EEOC issued How to Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for Restaurants and Other Food Service Employers. EEOC worked with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the preparation of the guide, which explains to restaurants and other food service employers how to comply with the ADA and explains the relationship between the ADA and the FDA's model code for food safety.
In May 2005, the EEOC, along with the Department of Justice and the National Council on Disability, issued two publications addressing how to ensure that mediation of employment disputes is accessible to people with disabilities. The documents - Questions and Answers for Mediation Providers: Mediation and the Americans with Disabilities Act and Questions and Answers for Parties to Mediation: Mediation and the Americans with Disabilities Act - address the obligations of private and public sector mediation providers and the rights and responsibilities of individuals with disabilities in mediation. The documents examine topics such as the types of reasonable accommodations that may be necessary to make mediation accessible to people with disabilities, and the confidentiality of medical information disclosed during mediation.
To further advance the NFI, our innovative States' Best Practices Project, begun last year, created partnerships between EEOC and nine States. Under this project, the EEOC reviews policies and procedures related to the employment of individuals with disabilities in State government. In early FY 2005, we issued an interim report highlighting best practices in recruitment, hiring, and reasonable accommodation found in four partner States-Florida, Maryland, Vermont, and Washington.
"I am pleased to join the EEOC in
these efforts to identify best practices
in order to enhance State government employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This is an important step for our State."
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius
Soon thereafter,Chair Cari Dominguez signed Joint Resolutions with the governors of Kansas and Utah to mark their states' enrollment in the project. Three additional partner states-Missouri, New Hampshire, and New Mexico-will be included with the other participating States in our final report in early FY 2006. FY 2005 has been devoted to reviewing the additional States' practices and compiling information on barriers to employment of individuals with disabilities.
Federal Sector: Our Federal sector programs have a unique role in ensuring that all Federal employees have the freedom to compete in the federal workplace on a fair and level playing field and to be judged on the merit of their performance and not on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, or disability. To this end, the Commission has developed initiatives to focus on preventing discrimination before it occurs and providing services and tools to assist agencies in managing their workforce and ensuring equal opportunity.
The most significant recent initiative in this effort has been the issuance of Management Directive (MD) 715, which was unanimously approved by the Commission and became effective on October 1, 2003. Using the principles and guidance contained in MD-715, the Commission began analyzing the first MD-715 progress reports and actions plans submitted by Federal agencies during the second quarter of FY 2005. After reviewing these submissions and analyzing the data, the EEOC provided training and technical assistance to agencies in the implementation of MD-715. The EEOC also provided a number of agencies with an individualized assessment of their efforts and progress toward achieving Model EEO Program status, focusing on creative strategies to eliminate or reduce the impact of obstacles identified in their barrier analysis.
A key strategy in our efforts to be more responsive to our Federal sector customers
was the expansion of our relationship management project during FY 2005. This
project, modeled after the private sector's approach to customer service, brought
EEOC personnel together with EEO staff from 12 agencies in a partnership to
develop methods of helping those agencies foster an inclusive work culture and
successfully implement the essential attributes of MD-715's Model EEO Program.
This page was last modified on April 24, 2006
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