EEOC Makes Fight Against
Systemic Discrimination A Top Priority
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Charles Robbins, (202) 663-4900
Tuesday, April 4, 2006 David Grinberg, (202) 663-4921
TTY: (202) 663-4494
WASHINGTON - Making the fight against systemic
discrimination an agency-wide top priority, the U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Tuesday adopted recommendations from an
internal task force report that focus on strengthening the Commission's
nationwide approach to investigating and litigating systemic cases.
The task force, led by Commissioner Leslie E.
Silverman, defined systemic cases as "pattern or practice, policy
and/or class cases where the alleged discrimination has a broad impact on
an industry, profession, company, or geographic location." The full
task force report is available on the EEOC's web site at http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeoc/task_reports/systemic.html.
Chair Cari M. Dominguez said, "I want to
commend Commissioner Silverman and her task force for the excellent work
they have done on this report. This is a very important initiative and I
am pleased that the Commission will be moving forward to implement its
"By implementing the Task Force's
recommendations, the Commission is sharpening its focus on systemic
discrimination," Commissioner Silverman said. "Our field offices
should handle all systemic investigations and litigation. That's where we
have our greatest resources and strengths, not to mention a proven track
record. Field offices should partner and share expertise to maximize
Commission resources. Headquarters' role should be to assist and support
the field's systemic program."
The task force was established in 2005 and charged
by Chair Dominguez with examining the EEOC's systemic program and
recommending new strategies for addressing this type of employment
discrimination. Task force members worked together for nearly a year,
conducted interviews, held focus groups, and surveyed EEOC staff and
The Task Force embarked on its work, as its report
states, "with the recognition that the Commission cannot effectively
combat discrimination without a strong nationwide systemic program."
While concluding that the EEOC has successfully investigated, conciliated
and litigated numerous systemic cases, the Task Force also found many
opportunities for improvement. The report states: ". . . EEOC does
not consistently and proactively identify systemic discrimination.
Instead, the agency typically focuses on individual allegations raised in
Commissioner Stuart Ishimaru, who praised the Task
Force's work during Tuesday's meeting, said, "I strongly support the
recommendations of the Systemic Task Force. If followed fully, I am
confident that the recommendations will drastically improve the EEOC's
systemic enforcement efforts."
Among the motions approved by the Commission
- Systemic investigations and litigation will be
conducted in the field, and the systemic investigation and litigation
units in headquarters will be eliminated.
- Each district in the field must develop Systemic
Plans to ensure that the Commission is identifying and investigating
systemic discrimination in a coordinated, strategic, effective
- The Office of General Counsel should facilitate
the staffing of systemic cases using a national law firm model,
whereby cases are staffed with employees who have the expertise needed
in each particular case.
Among the directives issued by the Chair:
- The Office of Information Technology is required
to prepare an action plan addressing the Task Force's recommendations
related to technology and submit the Plan to the Commission by June
- Members of the Commission and employees who
engage in outreach are encouraged to educate employers and other
members of the public about systemic discrimination, including trends
and issues the agency has identified and cases the agency has handled.
The EEOC is the federal government agency
responsible for enforcing the nation's laws prohibiting employment
discrimination. Additional information about the agency is available on
its web site at www.eeoc.gov