FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Claire Gonzales Wed., May 24, 1995 Reginald Welch (202) 663-4900 TDD: (202) 663-4494
WASHINGTON -- On May 22, 1995, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) adopted a broad set of significant recommendations to improve its relationship with state and local Fair Employment Practice Agencies (FEPAs) to which the Commission defers an average of more than 48,000 charges a year for processing. The recommendations were presented by Commissioner Joyce E. Tucker, chairman of the Commission's Task Force on Fair Employment Practice Agencies (FEPA Task Force).
"By empowering FEPAs and cutting needless layers of review, we will succeed in increasing the overall quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of both EEOC and its FEPA partners," EEOC Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas said.
The Commission contracts with 89 FEPAs nationwide, which process "dual filed" charges constituting a portion of EEOC's total caseload. The recommendations adopted by the Commission "will allow both of our agencies the ability to devote more time and resources toward accomplishing our common mission of eliminating and preventing employment discrimination and providing timely redress to its victims," said Commissioner Tucker.
Commissioner Tucker pointed out that both FEPA and EEOC field personnel in many instances made "identical observations and recommendations" regarding EEOC's statutory, regulatory, and policy requirements for the FEPA program. Both groups reached consensus on a wide range of issues, including cutting costly, time-consuming, and unnecessary duplication, eliminating unduly burdensome reporting requirements, and lessening micro-management of FEPAs by EEOC headquarters.
The actions taken by the Chairman and the Commission were overwhelmingly endorsed by two major organizations representing a majority of the 89 FEPAs and state and local workers. They include the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA) and the National Association of Human Rights Workers (NAHRW).
The recommendations marked the first time in 15 years that major improvements were made to the FEPA program. The FEPA Task Force report was the result of a comprehensive, four-month study that looked at every aspect of the EEOC-FEPA relationship.
The following three motions were made at the meeting by Commissioner Tucker and adopted unanimously by the five-member Commission:
Based on the Commission-adopted motions, Chairman Casellas directed that several implementation actions be undertaken immediately by headquarters offices. Those actions include:
The May 22 meeting was a continuation of the April 24, 1995, special Commission meeting in which the FEPA Task Force first presented its recommendations to the Commission in a public forum. At that time, the Commission deferred voting on the recommendations to provide for further analysis and discussion on the wide variety of recommended improvements to the contractual affiliation between EEOC and FEPAs. The FEPA Task Force recommendations were the last in a series of recommendations that were approved by the Commission and presented by three Commissioner-led task forces created by Chairman Casellas in December 1994 to restructure and revitalize EEOC's operating procedures. On April 19, 1995, the Commission approved a wide range of innovative recommendations presented by the Task Force on Charge Processing, chaired by Vice Chairman Paul M. Igasaki, to radically improve and streamline the agency's private sector charge processing system. On April 25, 1995, the Commission adopted recommendations presented by the Task Force on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), co-chaired by Commissioners R. Gaull Silberman and Paul Steven Miller, laying the groundwork for the use of mediation-based ADR techniques to enhance EEOC's charge processing system. EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Equal Pay Act; sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and prohibitions against discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal government.
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