The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that is responsible for eliminating discrimination, in all terms and conditions of employment, based on race, color, sex, religion and national origin. The EEOC has since become tasked with ending discrimination based on age or disability.
Facts about EEOC
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which addressed the issues of segregation and racial discrimination.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964. Title VII, regarding Discrimination by Private Employers, established the federal agency known as the EEOC.
The primary responsibility of the EEOC was to investigate charges of unlawful employment practices and to attempt to reach a voluntary settlement through conciliation. Under the original Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC had no authority to bring lawsuits of its own.
LBJ appointed Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., the son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, as the first Chairman of the Commission, with a budget of $2.25 million and approximately 100 employees. He served in the position until May 11, 1966.
Charles T. Duncan, an African American lawyer from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, was appointed as the EEOC's first General Counsel. Charles T. Duncan served until October 1966 organizing the Commission and establishing procedures on employee selection, guidelines and codes of practice on discrimination.
During its first year of operation the EEOC obtained conciliation agreements with over one hundred employers, the majority of the cases were located in the deep south.
During its first years of operation the Commission conducted public hearings across the nation and attracted media attention in an effort to make the public aware that they could make complaints to the EEOC about employment discrimination. The public hearings ended in 1972.
As time passed the jurisdiction of the EOCC regarding employment discrimination issues expanded into additional areas.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protected workers aged 40 years and over from discrimination in different aspects of employment.
In 1970 the EEOC Department of Labor began to share information and coordinate investigations of government contractors.
In 1972 Congress amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by approving the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibited discrimination on the basis of disability in federal government programs.
By 1975 the EEOC was swamped with complaints and had a backlog of nearly 100,000 cases that were awaiting investigation. Congress duly approved the EEOC budget of $63 million presented by President Gerald Ford.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was passed regarding discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 was passed and the EEOC assumed responsibility for enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the civilian federal workforce. During the same year the responsibilities of the Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinating Council was transferred to the EEOC.
Congress passed the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) amending the Immigration and Nationality Act so that employers could be fined for hiring illegal workers.
The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was passed prohibiting employment discrimination by the private sector, state and local governments on the basis of disability.
Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1991 amending Title VII so that successful plaintiffs could recover compensation and damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination cases. The following year the EEOC provided enforcement guidance on how to assess damages.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of an applicant’s or employee’s genetic information.
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