The EEOC is located in 53 cities of the U.S. and is headquartered at Washington, D.C. It has the primary mandate of enforcing federal laws that protect legal residents or citizens of the U.S. from discrimination in employment based on race, gender (pregnancy inclusive), color, religion, national origin, disability/genetic information, age, filing a discrimination charge, complaining about discrimination or being a participant in a lawsuit or employment discrimination investigation. These laws apply to employers with at least 15 employees and 20 employees if it is an age discrimination case. These laws are applicable to all types of work aspects such as promotions, hiring, firing, training, wages, benefits and harassment.
Role of the EEOC
The EEOC plays the role of accurately and fairly assessing allegations in a charge and making a finding. If discrimination has been found, the EEOC will try to settle the charges. In the event of failure, the EEOC will file a lawsuit. In addition, the EEOC proactively prevents discrimination through technical assistance, education and outreach programmes. Moreover, EEOC leads and guides federal agencies concerning all the nitty gritties of the federal government Equal Employment Opportunity Program. The EEOC ensures that the federal agency and the department are in compliance with the EEOC regulations; gives technical assistance to the federal agencies about EEOC complaint adjudication; develops and disseminates education materials for the federal sector and trains the stakeholders; monitors and evaluates affirmative programs belonging to federal agencies (U.S. EEOC, 2012) .
RCC Consultants, Inc. sued for Disability Discrimination
An example of a lawsuit that was filled on 29th December, 2011, in Virginia, was that of the RCC Consultants, Inc. The company was charged in a lawsuit filed by the EEOC for violating the federal disability law after it failed to hire Stanton Woodcock at its regional office in mid-Atlantic, due to his disability. The said company, based on EEOC complaint, refused to hire Stanton Woodcock for the position of a managing consultant due to his condition, ocular albinism. This is a genetic condition characterized by a lack of melanin pigment in the eyes leading to various vision problems for Woodcock, thus compromising his seeing ability. According to EEOC (2012), this discrimination took place when Woodcock was interviewed for a managing consultant’s position at RCC Consultant’s facility based in Glen Allen, Virginia, on 17th October, 2007. In late October, 2007, RCC Consultants rescinded Woodcocks employment offer after becoming privy to the information that Woodcock lacked a driving license because of his condition that did not allow him to drive. The complaint notes that even though Woodcock merited for the managing consultant’s position, RCC Consultants illegally failed to hire him for the said position due to the ocular albinism condition.
EEOC continues to mention that “[s]uch alleged conduct violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits private employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The lawsuit was filed after an attempted settlement out of the court as Civil Action No. 3:11-cv-00864 known as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. RCC Consultants, Inc. in a court, in Richmond Division, Virginia” The EEOC further says that “[t]he suit seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for Woodcock, as well as injunctive and other non-monetary relief” (U.S. EEOC, 2012) .The EEOC, therefore, plays the role of enforcing the American with Disability Act of 1990 (ADA) by filling a lawsuit against RCC Consultants, Inc. in order to punish the Company and seek compensatory damages for Woodcock.
A comparison of the Cases
At this juncture, it is imperative to note that this lawsuit against the RCC Consultants is among the many lawsuits that have been filed against various organizations since 1997. In the EEOC chart dating from 1997 to 2011, the number of charge receipts in 1997 was 18,108. The number of charge receipts then decreased for a while up to 14, 893 in 2005 and then rose again to 25, 742 in 2011 which recorded the highest number of charge receipts ever recorded. Much as the EEOC aims to induce some social change in the American societal fabric in so far as employment discrimination is concerned, the statistical figures indicate that this unfortunate behavior is on the rise. The fines in terms of damages to the victim do not seem to ring a bell to the society. It seems that the EEOC is in the long haul in fighting this societal vice, discrimination against disability.
An independent news source headquartered in Santa Clara, California, Job mouse featured the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. RCC Consultants, Inc. case on Friday, 30th December, 2011. The topic went, “RCC Consultants, Inc. Sued For Failing to Hire an Applicant With Vision Problems” (Waldman, 2011). This is the first instance where a difference is noticed relatively to the EEOC title which read “RCC Consultants, Inc. Sued for Disability Discrimination” (U.S. EEOC, 2012). Another noticeable difference is in regard to the lawsuit number. The Job Mouse news release lacks the lawsuit number (Civil Action No. 3:11-cv-00864), while the EEOC press release has the lawsuit number. Furthermore, the Job Mouse news release says that the alleged conduct by the RCC Consultants “violates Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)” while, on the other hand, the EEOC press release says that the alleged conduct “violates Title I of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)” (Waldman, 2011; U.S. EEOC, 2012). However, most of the information detailing the compliance issue in the news release by the Job Mouse is similar to the EEOC press release.
As the manager of the EEOC, I would introduce stringent standards of operation that would ensure compliance with the EEOC requirements. Such modus operandi would include revoking the licenses belonging to institutions or individuals who practice employment discrimination, incarcerating those who discriminate against applicants or employees; and making individuals or institutions that discriminate to either employ or continue reimbursing the victim in terms of damages, until the institution considers employing the victim. Last, but not least, I would increase awareness about the various forms of discrimination and the penalties imposed on anyone who contravenes the set standards.