The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



E-RACE Initiative Offers New Approach to Combating Job Bias, Promoting Voluntary Compliance

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Naomi C. Earp, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and EEOC Commissioner Stuart J. Ishimaru, today met with Memphis area business leaders to discuss the agency’s E-RACE Initiative (Eradicating Racism And Colorism from Employment) – a national outreach, education, and enforcement campaign focusing on new and emerging race and color issues in the 21st century workplace.

During the meeting, held at the National Civil Rights Museum, the EEOC engaged in an open dialogue with employers to discuss the imperative of E-RACE. Chair Earp explained E-RACE and what prompted its implementation, as well as the critically important role of CEOs and other business leaders in achieving equal employment opportunity.

“While we’ve come a long way, the unfortunate reality is that race and color bias continues to plague America’s labor market – both in old and familiar ways, and in new and more subtle forms,” Chair Earp said. “Equal employment opportunity must be part and parcel of a company's business strategy, with visible commitment from the company’s highest levels, management accountability, and proactive prevention.”

Joining Chair Earp and Commissioner Ishimaru in addressing attendees were Dr. Brian Nosek of Project Implicit and Professor Joni Hersch of Vanderbilt University. Dr. Nosek demonstrated the work of Project Implicit and presented information on the importance of understanding the role of hidden and subtle bias. Dr. Hersch presented information from her study that revealed the impact of skin color on earning power.

EEOC’s partners in planning this event included Buckeye Technologies®; Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, Inc.®; International Paper Co., Inc®; the Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce; the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz; and The National Civil Rights Museum.

Katharine Kores, director of EEOC’s Memphis District, which covers Tennessee, Arkansas, and the northern 17 counties of Mississippi, said today’s meeting was an important event for the region: “I applaud our business community partners in helping to plan this E-RACE event and make it a success. It is an important first step in what I hope will be a broader partnership with the employer community to stop race and color discrimination before it starts, which is the ultimate goal of Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act.”

Race discrimination accounts for the most frequently filed charge with the EEOC, a historical trend. In Fiscal Year 2007, the EEOC received 30,510 race discrimination charge filings (37% of the agency’s private sector caseload), up 12% from the prior year to the highest level in more than a decade.

Further information related to the E-RACE Initiative, including the agency’s updated Compliance Manual Section on Race and Color Discrimination, is available on the EEOC’s web site at Additional information about the Commission can be found online at

This page was last modified on April 15, 2008.

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