EEOC held its annual Federal sector EXCEL Program for government employees, managers, and union officials from August 30 to September 2, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada. EXCEL is the premier Federal sector law conference of its kind and provides an interactive educational forum for examining contemporary leadership, effective and low-cost dispute resolution approaches, and other EEO and merit systems issues and trends nationwide. Feedback from participants indicated that the conference was a huge success - "the best ever."
The best way to combat workplace discrimination is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Educating employers and workers about their rights and responsibilities under the law is the first step toward an inclusive work culture - where all workers are judged on their talents and abilities, without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, age, or disability.
A strong prevention program helps employers comply with the law and breaks down barriers to employment opportunities. Through outreach and education, we seek to prevent unlawful exclusionary practices from taking root. Through new and innovative proactive approaches, we believe we are helping move toward sound workplace practices that foster a level playing field and allow the best talent to emerge. Encouraging inclusive, equal opportunity workplaces is a powerful prevention strategy.
For our Inclusive Workplace Strategic Objective, we strive to achieve increased voluntary compliance with the Federal equal employment laws and increased individual awareness and understanding of rights and responsibilities. With these broad goals, our measures and strategies focus on one point of our Five-Point Plan: Proactive Prevention.
|Inclusive Workplace Performance Scorecard|
|Total FY 2004 Investment: $17.8 million|
|Total Measures||Targets Met||Targets Partially Met||Targets Not Met|
We have three measures for our Inclusive Workplace Strategic Objective. Measure 2.1.1 affords us an opportunity to determine the percentage of employer representatives who improve their workplaces as a result of their participation in one of our outreach or technical assistance programs. In FY 2004, we began to prepare for conducting our surveys to establish a baseline, target values, and a final goal for FY 2009 to measure our results for these types of outreach and training programs. In the meantime, our outreach and technical assistance programs continue to reach record numbers of participants.
SBA Gives EEOC an "A"
The Missouri Small Business Direct Contact Program, developed by our St. Louis District Office, contributed to the EEOC receiving an "A" rating from the Small Business Administration (SBA) National Ombudsman. Citing an example of how EEOC's small business program breaks down barriers between employers and the Federal government, the SBA National Ombudsman recounted a visit by the St. Louis District Office to a small employer in Springfield, MO, which subsequently sought EEOC's assistance in resolving a workplace conflict.
"The manager called the District's Small Business Liaison to seek advice on an issue of harassment occurring between two employees at his place of business. He told the liaison he would not have made this call last year, but because of EEOC's willingness to make a personal visit to his business to advise him about the agency's compliance assistance programs, he felt more comfortable calling a government office for advice. He stated that since EEOC had taken the first step, he was not so nervous about asking for help."
The Commission, including both field and headquarters offices, participated in 5,340 educational, training, and outreach events that reached 351,874 persons. This is a significant increase in the number of events over the same period in FY 2003 (4,692). Specific events included 1,952 oral presentations; 806 training sessions, including 557 Revolving Fund events; 360 stakeholder input meetings; and 337 expanded presence activities that provided individual counseling and assistance to under served constituents. These four major types of educational events reached 162,203 persons. Compared to FY 2003, we increased the number of stakeholder input meetings by 38%, the number of oral presentations by 17%, and the number of expanded presence activities by 13%.
Offices also distributed information materials on EEO laws and represented the Commission at 804 other public events with audiences of 130,637 people. These events included information booths at job fairs, conventions, cultural expositions and conferences, and participation in many community organization meetings. Offices distributed informational materials to another 57,395 people. They also made 717 media presentations - including radio and TV interviews, talk shows and press conferences, which provided substantive EEO information to many thousands of stakeholders.
The Commission is working cooperatively and collaboratively with the small business community to proactively prevent employment discrimination and promote voluntary compliance. We recognize that many small businesses do not have separate human resource and legal staff to guide them through the regulatory process. Therefore, it is important to establish open lines of communication and provide the necessary training and tools to ensure that small employers comply with the law. As such, EEOC District Offices conducted 561 no-cost outreach events directed toward small businesses in FY 2004, including several events under the President's New Freedom Initiative (NFI). Events included oral presentations, training, and stakeholder input meetings, reaching 17,538 small business representatives. An additional 3,298 small business representatives attended Revolving Fund events. Mediation, EEOC overview, sexual harassment, charge processing, Title VII and the ADA were the most popular topics for small business audiences.
In a report issued in FY 2004, Report to Congress, Fiscal Year 2003, the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) National Ombudsman commended EEOC, awarding the agency high marks for its compliance assistance to small business. Of 50 Federal agencies rated in this report, EEOC was one of only four agencies receiving a rating of A, the highest rating awarded. We are proud of this recognition and continue to enhance our efforts to provide small businesses with the information they need to comply with Federal EEO laws and implement sound workplace practices.
As part of our Five-Point Plan to expand ADR, offices conducted 617 outreach events directed toward the private-sector employer community to promote our mediation program in FY 2004. Events included workshops, mock mediations, and panel discussions with employer representatives as well as representatives from the plaintiff and defense bar. In addition, an overview of charge processing procedures, including a discussion of our ADR program, was the topic at over 1,029 events.
During FY 2004, we also developed new promotional materials, including a brochure and bookmark that describe the benefits of mediation to the employer community. The materials were distributed to all field offices to be used in outreach and education programs. In addition, the bookmark will be enclosed in the service of charge packages for all charges eligible for mediation.
Measure 2.1.3, which aims to increase the percentage of individuals demonstrating an awareness of their equal employment opportunity rights and responsibilities, is focused on the broad implications of our prevention efforts. In FY 2004, we took steps to begin surveying individual awareness of EEO rights and responsibilities. To support our proactive prevention goals, we have several new and ongoing initiatives to provide people with the information they need to know about their rights and responsibilities under the equal employment opportunity laws we enforce.
Battling Sex Discrimination
The Milwaukee District Office received a favorable jury verdict in its suit against Dial Corporation alleging that the defendant engaged in a pattern or practice of sex discrimination by requiring applicants for production operator positions in a food processing plant to pass a physical strength test that disproportionately excluded women from the positions. The court will award back pay to class members following its decision on EEOC's claim that the test also had a disparate impact on women.
In 2002, EEOC launched the Freedom to Compete Initiative, a national outreach, education, and coalition-building effort designed to complement our enforcement and litigation activities. Freedom to Compete seeks to build partnerships and strategic alliances with groups and organizations not traditionally engaged with the agency, with the ultimate goal of promoting equal employment opportunity and removing workplace barriers.
To promote the initiative, we hosted a series of meetings with line executives and organizational leaders nationwide. Outreach efforts also included a number of roundtable discussions with CEOs, public service announcements, media presentations, identification of best practices and a more user-friendly and useful website. Since launching the initiative, we have established 23 strategic alliances with new partners, including the Executive Leadership Council, Financial Women's Association of New York, Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility, and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. We intend to issue a best practices report based on this initiative.
We have also published our final notification in the Federal Register, announcing the establishment of an annual EEOC Freedom to Compete award to recognize individuals and organizations that have demonstrated exemplary efforts in promoting free and unfettered access to opportunities in the workplace. We plan to present the first awards in FY 2005.
In 2001, President Bush launched the New Freedom Initiative (NFI), a comprehensive strategy to achieve full integration of individuals with disabilities into all aspects of the Nation's social and economic life. As the agency responsible for enforcing the employment provisions of the ADA, EEOC is actively involved in advancing the initiative. NFI activities include 72 free workshops provided to small businesses on the requirements of the ADA; the publication of a fact sheet on telework as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA; and the publication of The Americans with Disabilities Act: A Primer for Small Business in both English and Spanish. Over 30,000 copies of the publication have been provided free of charge, and more than 70,000 people accessed the publication online. During FY 2004, we also issued a fact sheet for job applicants and began to issue a series of question-and-answer documents that explain how the ADA applies to individuals with particular disabilities in the workplace. To date, we have published documents on diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities.
To further advance this initiative, in the beginning of FY 2004, we pioneered a series of Federal-State partnerships. Under the States' Best Practices Project, we partnered with states to review, among other things, recruitment, hiring, and reasonable accommodations programs affecting the employment of individuals with disabilities in State government. The project will highlight state best practices, share these practices nation-wide through written reports, and offer participating States technical assistance to promote voluntary compliance with the ADA. In early FY 2005, we will issue an interim report highlighting best practices in four States-Florida, Maryland, Vermont, and Washington. The states of Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, and Utah have also agreed to participate in the project. We will issue a final report covering all participating states in early FY 2006.
In September 2004, we announced our Youth@Work Initiative to promote equal employment opportunity for our Nation's next generation of workers. This innovative national outreach and education campaign is designed to educate young workers about their workplace rights and responsibilities. The initiative has three main components.
T.E.A.C.H. for Tomorrow
EEOC's New York District Office developed and implemented a program for freshman students, through the "T.E.A.C.H." program, designed to provide information on harassment and discrimination to students entering the workforce for the first time. This is part of an effort to reach university undergraduates, who are preparing for management roles, about workplace discrimination. Many of the students in the program at Columbia University were working on their first jobs and raised current workplace problems with our staff.
The Youth@Work website (http://youth.eeoc.gov/) is dedicated to educating young workers about their equal employment opportunity rights and responsibilities. The website explains the different types of job discrimination that young workers may encounter and suggests strategies they can use to prevent, and, if necessary, respond to such discrimination. The site includes an interactive tool called "Challenge Yourself!" This section provides an opportunity for young workers to test their knowledge by analyzing sample job discrimination scenarios. The site, created with the assistance of EEOC student interns, also includes examples of recent cases involving workplace harassment of young workers.
During FY 2004 and continuing into FY 2005, EEOC Commissioners and field office staff will host free outreach events for high school students, youth organizations, and small businesses that employ young workers. These events, which include information about the laws enforced by EEOC, and the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, are aimed at assisting young workers as they enter and navigate the professional world and encouraging employers to proactively address discrimination issues confronting young workers.
Through developing partnerships with business leaders, human resource groups, and industry trade associations, we plan to host a series of forums and roundtable discussions in FY 2005 to further explore the workplace trends and challenges affecting young workers. Our Youth@Work partners will play a vital role in increasing public awareness about the Federal anti-discrimination laws by putting a Youth@Work link on their websites, publishing articles on the initiative in their newsletters, discussing the initiative with their members or employees, or participating in Youth@Work events throughout the country.
As part of the emphasis on proactive prevention in our Five-Point Plan, we published several reports examining demographic trends, economic indicators, employer practices and industry literature. The primary contribution of these reports is the ability to raise important questions about discrimination and alert the public, and especially the business community, about these issues. The FY 2004 reports, as well as previous reports, are available on our website at www.eeoc.gov/stats/reports/index.html.
We redesigned and upgraded our website to provide more information and make it easier to navigate. Visits to the EEOC website have increased dramatically over the past three years. The number of visits from the public now averages more than 350,000 website users each month. During the past year, we added outreach materials in Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean and Haitian-Creole to the website. A Spanish version will be launched in the first quarter of FY 2005.
This page was last modified on November 18, 2004
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