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The 1990s: New Laws, New Strategies


Early in the 1990s, Congress again expanded EEOC's authority and jurisdiction by the passage of significant pieces of legislation the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. As a result of its expanded jurisdiction, EEOC witnessed the largest increase in charge receipts in its history. While charges continued to allege race and sex discrimination, EEOC also received at record rates charges of discrimination based on age and disability. However, the Commission received little additional funding to handle the exploding charge workload.

Given the burgeoning backlog of charges, EEOC once again faced criticism surrounding its perennial dilemma of providing effective individual relief while still addressing systemic patterns of discrimination. Thus, this decade is marked by EEOC's efforts to develop creative enforcement and outreach strategies to reduce the backlog of charges and attack systemic discrimination under all of its statutes, while continuing to provide protection for individual victims of discrimination. These new and innovative strategies have become a hallmark of the Commission's flexibility to meet the changing needs of the time.

Next: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

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