WASHINGTON -- Ida L. Castro, Chairwoman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), will announce a series of innovative actions to improve customer service to small and mid-sized employers during a keynote speech to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The announcement, part of EEOC's new Small Business Initiative, will be made at SHRM's 14th Annual Legal and Legislative Conference on the morning of Tuesday, March 23, from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. at the Capital Hilton, 16th and K Streets, N.W.
"Building a more cooperative and collaborative relationship with the small business community is one of my highest priorities as Chairwoman," Ms. Castro said. "By reaching out to this critical stakeholder group through enhanced customer service, education, and technical assistance, the Commission is promoting voluntary compliance and easing the EEO concerns expressed by many small business owners."
During her speech, Ms. Castro plans to discuss the implementation of the following actions to improve relations between EEOC and small businesses:
The Small Business Initiative is part of EEOC's continuing effort to open the lines of communication and reach out to those groups who have a critical stake in the agency's work. Since assuming leadership of EEOC in November 1998, Chairwoman Castro has engaged in an active dialogue with agency stakeholders by convening a special series of public Commission Meetings to address their concerns.
On December 9, 1998, EEOC heard testimony on small business issues from a panel of representatives of the employer community, including SHRM's President and CEO Michael Losey and officials from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Employer Council. Mr. Losey also participated in EEOC's national mediation kick-off program on February 11 by taking part in an open round table discussion with representatives of the NAACP, McDonald's Corporation, the American Bar Association, and the plaintiffs bar.
"I look forward to the opportunity to address hundreds of human resource managers who will be in attendance at SHRM's conference," Ms. Castro said. "SHRM has played an instrumental role by serving as a model in EEOC's efforts to forge a new partnership with small and medium-sized employers. With over 113,000 members nationwide, SHRM is the leading voice of the human resource profession. Its influence cannot be over emphasized."
EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals 40 years of age or older; sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991; the Equal Pay Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the federal government. Further information about EEOC is available on the agency's web site (www.eeoc.gov).
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