The history of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) commenced in 1941, when President Roosevelt released Executive Order 8802. This Executive Order declared that every citizen of the U.S. is entitled to have equal employment opportunities within the World War II defense contracts irrespective of religion, race, skin color, or nationality. Today, the EEO legislation has influence on business life of American society. There are a number of civil statutes and legislative acts that supervise and regulate the employment process, which is designed to create equal employment opportunities for everyone disregarding their religion, nationality, age or race. Unfortunately, despite these statutes and legislative acts that protected equal rights of American people, there are still many cases of discrimination. Nowadays, a lot of people believe that they have been discriminated directly or indirectly on their workplaces, in the course of the job interview because of their age, race, nationality, disability or gender. In some cases, law is just misinterpreted, but very often law that protects equal employment rights is simply ignored by the employers. The matter of fact, every employer prefers a young and healthy employee to a disabled, old and/or not enough healthy one. People are biased by nature so the employer may prefer blond to brunet, Caucasian to Asian, female to male and vice versa. Therefore, complaints of unfair treatment or discrimination based continue to be heard, and in most of the cases these charges have legal grounds (U.S. EEOC, 2003).
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Background
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enacts federal laws forbidding unfair treatment and discrimination in the workplace. The EEOC was established on the basis of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The employment provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were known as Title VII; according to them, discrimination grounded on national origin, color, race, religion or sex is prohibited by law. Law also protects anyone who decides to exert their right under Title VII; employers are prohibited from retaliating against such employee. Today, the EEOC enacts federal anti-discrimination acts and statutes, as well as provides coordination and supervision of all federal equal opportunity practices, policies and regulations. EEOC conducts judicial enforcement pursuant to several federal laws that prohibit workplace discrimination (U.S. EEOC, 2006).
Applicants for the job and existing employees of private employers, educational institutions, local and state governments and employment agencies are protected by Federal statutes and acts from workplace intolerance on the below described grounds:
Race, Sex, Color, and National Origin
Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Title VII and its amendments protect applicants for the job and existing employees from workplace discrimination in fringe benefits, salary, promotion, job training, hiring, classification, promotion, referral, discharge and other phases of employment. The color, race, sex (state of pregnancy), religion or/and nationality serve as a basis. Discrimination on religious basis is a failure to reasonably adjust religious exercises of an employee where the religious beliefs of the employee do not interact with working duties (U.S. EEOC, 2012).
Civil Rights Act of 1990 and its titles I and V together with amendments protect skilled and competent individuals from job injustice on the grounds of inability to provide fringe benefits, to pay, promotion, job training, hiring, classification, promotion, referral, discharge and other employment phases. Discrimination of disability comprises of inability to make rational adjustments to the aware, secure and non-contagious mental or physical restrictions, but otherwise skilled and competent person (U.S. EEOC, 2012).
1967 Employment Act has a special provision dedicated the Age Discrimination that protects applicants for the job and existing employees that reached the age of 40 years or more from age discrimination in receiving fringe benefits, pay, promotion, job training, hiring, classification, promotion, referral, discharge and other phases of employment (U.S. EEOC, 2012).
One of the amendments of Civil Rights Act (Title VII) prohibits sex discrimination; this amendment is the 1963Equal Pay Act which entitles the men and women have the equal payment executing substantially similar or equal work and bans sex discrimination or unfair treatment of men or women in the remuneration of labor if a job requires equal efforts, responsibility, skills, experience and is performed in the same establishment, under working conditions that are of similar character (U.S. EEOC, 2012).
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008, Title II with amendments protects applicants for the job and existing employees from discrimination in pay, fringe benefits, promotion, job training, hiring, classification, promotion, referral, discharge and other employment phases. GINA limits the employer’s access to genetic information and legally prosecutes the genetic data disclosure. Genetic information comprises applicants’ genetic tests for the job, employee, or members of their family; the disclosure of disorders or diseases in family (medical history of a family); and demands of genetic tests or services from employees, applicants or their relatives (U.S. EEOC, 2012).
EEOC Claim Process
When a person believes that his rights according to Title VII or other mentioned here legal statutes are violated, he is entitled to file a complaint. The first step of the complaint procedure within the EEOC commences with the employee filing a complaint through a local organization that is authorized to deal with employment discrimination complaints in the name of the EEOC. This organization has a contract with the EEOC, so they are often called “706 agency”; they are named after section 706 of the Civil Rights Act (Bennett-Alexander, 2001). These organizations accept and process discrimination complaints in the name of the EEOC. The aggrieved party may also file a complaint directly to the EEOC, but if there is a “706 agency” in the region, the EEOC must refer the complaint to the “706 agency” and wait for 60 days before processing it. The complaints which have been received from the “706 agency” EEOC serves to the company-employer in the course of 10 days. According to the new mediation procedure introduced on February 11, 1999, the EEOC has to send letters to both interested parties with an offer of voluntary mediation and wait for respond for 10 days. If both interested parties choose the mediation, it should be arranged during sixty days (for house mediation) or forty-five days (for external mediation). In the course of the mediation proceedings, both parties have the opportunity to introduce their evidence and negotiate the deal. All the information that is revealed during the mediation proceedings is confidential, and it is sealed if the parties reach an agreement. If the parties refuse the mediation, the EEOC will investigate the complaint by studying evidence and interviewing witnesses from both sides. The EEOC is entitled if it is necessary to involve the EEOC specialist for conflict negotiation. The EEOC expert investigates the case, and then familiarizes both parties with his / her results after that EEOC specialist offers the most appropriate and legally grounded decisions of the conflict. If the parties agree with the decision, there should be written a favorable letter of recommendation. The majority of complaints to the EEOC are resolved at this phase of the process, yet unresolved ones may be referred to a civil court (Lopes, 2012).
Court by the EEOC
The civil litigation procedure commences similarly to the EEOC complaints procedure, so at first the complaint should be filed. When a complaint occurs in the court, the defendant is exacted into court. The defendant can appeal to the court to dismiss the case on the grounds that the complaint is filed too late, or motion has not enough or no merit to be heard in the court. If the judge decides that the case should be heard in the court, both parties have to go through interrogations and depositions. Deposition and interrogation help to determine strengths and weaknesses of both parties. Very often, the parties are negotiating a deal at this phase, yet some cases (very small percentage) go to a trial where jury delivers a verdict (CLP, 2012).
Since 1941 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigates charges and complaints of job discrimination and, in some exclusive cases, brings suits into civil court. It protects the interests of many people who believe that they were unfairly treated due to their religion, sex, race or color. Such complaints are very often filed by complainants (private individuals) who were discriminated by their employers. The EEOC specialists investigate those complaints and evidences revealing in the course of the investigations. If the EEOC specialists expose that discrimination took place, it may bring an enforcement of measures against the employer. Nevertheless, in the majority of incidents, the complainant independently initiates and pursues further litigation on the grounds of Title VII. However, EEOC specialists recommend that any person who wishes to file a complaint or suit pursuant to ADA or Title VII is important to exhaust all administrative methods before suing the employer in court. In other words, the private individual must first file a complaint of job discrimination to the EEOC and obtain all necessary recommendations and help, and then with support and approval of qualified specialists he/she may successfully and confidently seek judicial remedy (CLP, 2012).