WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today released a task force report assessing the progress of charge processing and litigation reforms which the agency began in 1995. The agency also announced a joint training pilot initiative with the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Labor and Employment Law, Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. These developments were presented at the ABA Committee's mid-winter meeting in Silverado, Calif. The task force report, prepared jointly by EEOC Chairman Paul M. Igasaki and Commissioner Paul Steven Miller, reviews the effectiveness of the reforms of the agency's charge handling and litigation programs.
"The Priority Charge Handling and Litigation Task Force Report provides a mid-course analysis of the reforms we began three years ago," said Igasaki. "While we find that our efforts have been largely successful, the report acknowledges that we still have a long way to go and provides recommendations to further increase our effectiveness. Recommendations include expanding the agency's efforts to encourage the legal and investigative staff in the field offices to work closely at all stages of our process, and requiring field offices to set strategic goals through their Local Enforcement Plans."
Commissioner Miller said, "This product of collaboration builds on the accomplishments of operational reforms that have increased cooperation within the agency and moved it closer to our goal of making the EEOC the premier civil rights enforcement agency."
The agency also announced the beginning of a training partnership that will involve ABA attorneys from plaintiff, management and union bars who will share their expertise with Commission staff at the local level. The project is a joint effort with the ABA EEO Committee, implemented through its local liaison Committees. It is designed to harness pro bono resources to enhance the capabilities of EEOC field staffs.
"This pilot project is a win-win situation for EEOC and the ABA," said Chairman Igasaki. "It will help to broaden agency training, maximize Commission resources, and foster a closer working relationship with the ABA, which has demonstrated a strong commitment to a more effective EEOC -- a goal we all share."
"This valuable partnership will be beneficial to both the EEOC and private attorneys," said Commissioner Miller. "By utilizing the skills of legal experts on the front lines, the Commission will be able to enforce equal employment opportunity laws more effectively and efficiently. That is in everybody's best interest."
The pilot project, which will provide training for EEOC lawyers and investigators, will begin in early June at the agency's district offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, and will run through September 1998. Specific training topics will be decided by each district office and a comprehensive evaluation of the project is planned following its conclusion. EEOC anticipates expanding the joint training initiative to agency field offices across the country.
The three co-chairs of the ABA\EEO Committee, Gary Siniscalco (management), Helen Norton (plaintiff), and Mary O'Melvany (union), welcomed the opportunity to work closely with EEOC to improve agency operations. They characterized this project as an unprecedented effort involving members of the plaintiff, management, and union bars working together with their public sector counterparts.
"This innovative initiative is designed to help the EEOC continue its efforts to become a more effective law enforcement organization despite sharply limited resources," Igasaki said. "We are deeply grateful as well for the support of so many in the bar for the much-needed funding increase for the EEOC proposed by the Administration," he added.
The text of the task force report will be available on EEOC's web site at www.eeoc.gov (click on What's New On This Site). You can also obtain a copy of the report by writing to EEOC's Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs, 1801 L Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20507.
This page was last modified on April 2, 1998.
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