U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The EEOC is a bipartisan Commission comprised of five presidentially-appointed members, including the Chair, Vice Chair, and three Commissioners. The Chair is responsible for the administration and implementation of policy and the financial management and organizational development of the Commission. The Commissioners participate equally in the development and approval of Commission policies, issue charges of discrimination where appropriate, and authorize the filing of some lawsuits. In addition to the Commissioners, the President appoints a General Counsel to support the Commission and provide direction, coordination, and supervision to the EEOC’s litigation program.
When the Commission first opened its doors in 1965, it was charged with enforcing the employment provisions of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC’s jurisdiction over employment discrimination issues has since grown and now includes the following areas:
The Office of Field Programs, the Office of General Counsel, and 53 field offices, ensure that the EEOC effectively enforces the statutory, regulatory, policy, and program responsibilities of the Commission through a variety of resolution methods tailored to each charge. Staff is responsible for achieving a wide range of objectives, which focus on the quality, timeliness, and appropriateness of individual, class, and systemic charges and for securing relief for victims of discrimination in accordance with Commission policies. Staff also counsel individuals about their rights under the laws enforced by the EEOC and conduct outreach and technical assistance programs. The Office of General Counsel conducts litigation in federal district courts and in the federal courts of appeals.
Additionally, through the Office of Field Program’s State and Local Program, the EEOC maintains work sharing agreements and a contract services program with 94 state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs) for the purpose of coordinating the investigation of charges dual-filed under state and local laws and federal law, as appropriate. The EEOC partners with more than 60 Tribal Employment Rights Offices (TEROs) to promote equal employment opportunity on or near Indian reservations.
The Office of Legal Counsel develops policy guidance, provides technical assistance to employers and employees, and coordinates with other agencies and stakeholders regarding the statutes and regulations enforced by the Commission. The Office of Legal Counsel also includes an external litigation and advice division and a Freedom of Information Act unit.
Through its Office of Federal Operations, the EEOC provides leadership and guidance to federal agencies on all aspects of the federal government’s equal employment opportunity program. This office assures federal agency and department compliance with EEOC regulations, provides technical assistance to federal agencies concerning EEO complaint adjudication, monitors and evaluates federal agencies’ affirmative employment programs, develops and distributes federal sector educational materials and conducts training for stakeholders, provides guidance and assistance to EEOC administrative judges who conduct hearings on EEO complaints, and adjudicates appeals from administrative decisions made by federal agencies on EEO complaints.
The EEOC receives a congressional appropriation to fund the necessary expenses of enforcing civil rights legislation, as well as performing the prevention, outreach, and coordination of activities within the private and public sectors. In addition, the EEOC maintains a Training Institute for technical assistance programs. These programs provide fee-based education and training relating to the laws administered by the Commission.