The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE              CONTACT:   Jeanette Leino
Wednesday, July 3, 1996                       (206) 220-6870
                                              TDD    (206) 220-6882
                                              John Montoya
                                              (206) 220-6872
                                              A. Luis Lucero, Jr.
                                              (206) 220-6878



SEATTLE -- The effects of the "glass ceiling" on job advancement opportunities for women and minorities will be among the issues that Paul M. Igasaki, Vice Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), will discuss next week with local individuals and groups interested in eliminating workplace discrimination. Igasaki will be in Seattle July 8 through 10 as part of the Commission's expanded education and outreach efforts to constituent groups nationwide.

Among those scheduled to confer with the Vice Chairman are King County Executive Gary Locke, Asian American community leaders, members of the Washington State Bar Association, and representatives of state and local fair employment practices agencies (FEPAs). EEOC contracts with FEPA's to process charges of job discrimination.

Central to Igasaki's discussions will be recent reforms implemented by EEOC to bolster its law enforcement effectiveness. These reforms include successful innovations in processing discrimination charges. New charge priority handling procedures provide agency field offices with more flexibility in deciding the level of investigation appropriate to both incoming and pending charges. Since the new procedures went into effect last summer, EEOC's pending inventory of private sector charges has declined by approximately 20%.

The agency has also implemented a National Enforcement Plan (NEP) designed to strategically direct limited agency resources for maximum results in fighting discrimination in the private sector. EEOC's Seattle District Office, and other agency offices across the country, are developing local versions of the NEP that are tailored to priorities in the various communities they serve.

On July 8, Igasaki will address Seattle Asian American community leaders at the Seattle office of the Japanese American Citizens League, a national civil rights organization. During this session he will also collect input on emerging issues which directly affect Asian Pacific Americans. Later that day he will attend a reception at the Wing Luke Museum sponsored by several prominent Seattle leaders, including U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott.

On the following day, Igasaki will spend the first part of the morning meeting with County Executive Locke. He will then preside at a roundtable discussion with several employer groups and community-based organizations on the "glass ceiling" issue. Written and oral input will be provided by participants who will examine ways in which artificial barriers and stereotypes hinder the advancement of women and minorities in the workplace. At noon the Vice Chairman will address a meeting of the Seattle Federal Executive Board. That evening, he will attend a reception hosted by the Employment Law section of the Washington State Bar Association and have dinner with local area attorneys.

On July 10, Igasaki will conclude his visit to Seattle by meeting with state and local FEPA representatives and with community-based organizations and employer representatives to learn about workplace discrimination issues of particular concern to them. He will also meet with staff of the agency's Seattle District Office. The Seattle office processes charges of employment discrimination and conducts litigation on behalf of injured charging parties in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. While there, Igasaki will discuss the work of staff in processing cases using the new charge prioritization procedures.

Appointed to the Commission by President Clinton in 1994, Igasaki is the first Asian American to serve as EEOC Vice Chairman. As Chairman of EEOC's Task Force of Charge Processing, he was instrumental in reforming the agency's private sector charge process. A native of Chicago, he served in the administration of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington as Liaison to the Asian American Community. He also was the Executive Director of the San Francisco-based Asian Law Caucus and a representative of the Japanese American Citizens League. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and received his Juris Doctor from the University of California at Davis Law School.

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; the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; prohibitions against discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal government; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

This page was last modified on January 15, 1997.

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