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 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.
|Total FY 2006 Investment: $ 13 million|
||Targets Partially Met
||Targets Not Met
The Commission’s outreach programs reached 300,494 persons. Field and headquarters offices participated in 5,628 educational, training, and outreach events. This is an increase in the number of events over the same period in FY 2005, when there were 5,505 events.
Also, our offices distributed information materials on EEO laws and represented the Commission at 834 other public events that reached an additional 79,389 people. These events included information booths at job fairs, conventions, cultural expositions, and conferences. Through participation in many community organization meetings, informational materials were distributed to another 66,869 people. We also made 796 media presentations, including radio and TV interviews, talk shows, and press conferences that provided substantive EEO information to millions of stakeholders.
Our performance measures for Proactive Prevention focus on increasing voluntary compliance with Federal equal employment laws and individual awareness of rights and responsibilities. Measure 2.1.1 affords us an opportunity to determine the percentage of employers who improve their workplaces as a result of their participation in one of our outreach or technical assistance programs. Our FY 2006 data show that 94.7% of participants indicated they made an improvement in their employment policies, practices, or procedures as a result of previously attending our free or fee-based outreach activities and training, which far exceeds our target of 85%. This result demonstrates the far-reaching impact that these outreach efforts have on changing the workplace to better ensure a fair and equitable environment for all employees. Highlights of our major outreach initiatives for FY 2006 follow.
Small Business Outreach: 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 resources 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. EEOC district offices conducted 583 no-cost outreach events directed toward small businesses in FY 2006, including several events under the President’s New Freedom Initiative (NFI). Events included oral presentations, training, and stakeholder input meetings that reached 29,461 small business representatives. An additional 1,849 small business representatives attended Revolving Fund events. The topics of mediation, EEOC overview, sexual harassment, charge processing, Title VII, and the ADA were the most popular for small business audiences.
Mediation Outreach: In FY 2006, EEOC offices conducted 533 outreach events directed toward the private-sector employer community to promote our mediation program. Events included workshops, mock mediations, and panel discussions with employer representatives as well as representatives from the plaintiff and defense bar.
Freedom to Compete Initiative: Launched in 2002, the EEOC’s Freedom to Compete Initiative is a national outreach, education and partnership campaign designed to recognize and reward specific practices that produce results and reflect a commitment to access and inclusion in the workplace. The EEOC’s Freedom to Compete Award, presented annually, honors excellence in the implementation of effective EEO practices that can be replicated by other employers or organizations.
We presented our Freedom to Compete Awards in June 2006 to a diverse group of companies, Federal agencies, and associations:
The Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle Offices formed a partnership to represent the EEOC at the15th Annual Western Migrant Stream Forum held in Portland. The forum was attended by over 200 agency participants from various organizations providing services to migrants in the States of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Arizona
Youth@Work: 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 Youth@Work website (www.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!” that 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. A Spanish-language version of the website debuted in June 2005 at www.youth.eeoc.gov/es.
In September 2006, the Youth@Work Initiative celebrated its second birthday. Over the past 2 years, EEOC offices nationwide have hosted or participated in more than 1,800 events to educate teenage employees and their employers about workplace discrimination and harassment. We have reached more than 123,000 high school students, parents, teachers, and employers—arming them with the information they need to create positive first work experiences for our young adults.
In FY 2006, we conducted 1,012 events to educate teenage employees and their employers about workplace discrimination and harassment, reaching 50,710 high school students, parents, teachers, and employers. 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.
“In order to improve the overall employment rate for people with targeted disabilities, we have to begin with the Federal Government. Congress directed the Federal Government to set the example for all other employers. Our example needs improvement. I fully expect the LEAD initiative to significantly contribute to this improvement.”
–Commissioner Christine Griffin
Compliance Manual Chapter on Race and Color Discrimination: Commission guidance, which can reach a very broad audience, is a critical educational tool. In FY 2006, the Commission issued a Compliance Manual section on race and color discrimination. The manual section is designed to help employers prevent race and color discrimination; employees or job applicants evaluate whether they have a valid complaint and, if so, how to address it; and enforcement staff investigate a form of discrimination that is seldom overt.
LEAD Initiative: LEAD (Leadership for the Employment of Americans with Disabilities) is the EEOC’s initiative to address the declining number of employees with targeted disabilities in the Federal workforce. People with targeted disabilities comprised less than 1% of the Federal workforce last year and the percentage of permanent Federal workers with targeted disabilities has been consistently below 1.3%. Commissioner Christine Griffin announced the initiative at a Commission meeting in June.
The over-arching goal for this initiative is to significantly increase the population of individuals with disabilities employed by the Federal Government. This national outreach and education campaign is designed to
The LEAD Initiative includes (1) educational events and seminars and (2) focus group sessions with Federal managers, hiring officials, and other interested parties to explore the issue of declining employment for individuals with severe disabilities and come up with concrete solutions to address the problem. More information can be found at www.eeoc.gov/initiatives/lead/index.html.
New Freedom Initiative: 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 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), EEOC is actively involved in advancing the initiative.
The Baltimore Field Office established a new partnership with a city high school devoted to criminal justice and the law—the Baltimore Freedom Academy. Under the partnership, the office will have monthly contact with the students. This quarter, field office staff taught three Youth@Work classes.
During FY 2004, we began to develop a series of documents in question-and-answer format that explain how the ADA applies in the workplace to individuals with particular disabilities. That year, we published documents on diabetes and epilepsy; in FY 2005, we added publications on intellectual disabilities and cancer; and in FY 2006, we published documents on blindness and vision impairments and deafness and hearing impairments. In May 2006, we issued Reasonable Accommodations for Attorneys with Disabilities, in conjunction with the first American Bar Association conference on the employment of lawyers with disabilities.
To further advance the NFI, our innovative States’ Best Practices Project, begun in 2003, created partnerships between EEOC and nine States—Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. For this project, the EEOC reviewed policies and procedures related to the employment of individuals with disabilities in State government. In early FY 2006, we issued our Final Report on Best Practices for the Employment of People With Disabilities in State Government, which highlighted best practices in recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement, and reasonable accommodation. The report also describes practices in the nine participating states that promote employment of people with disabilities generally and some policies or practices that may inadvertently result in barriers to employment.
We have also offered participating states free technical assistance to enhance compliance with the ADA. In February 2006, for example, we conducted six training sessions for employees and managers at the Maryland Department of Transportation, and in late August 2006, we provided training to more than 100 key state employees in Kansas.
Federal Sector Outreach: The Commission has championed a new approach toward creating a barrier-free, level playing field throughout the Federal Government. This new approach was captured in the landmark issuance of EEOC MD-715, which was unanimously approved by the Commission and became effective government-wide on October 1, 2003. MD-715 is the roadmap for Federal agencies to identify and remove barriers to equality of employment opportunity so that the American people can have a model Federal workforce. Using the guidance and principles contained in MD-715, the Commission now has an effective tool for evaluating agencies’ progress in creating effective equal employment opportunity programs and monitoring plans submitted by agencies to identify and remove barriers to free and open competition in the workplace.
The New York District Office participated in a Restaurant Opportunities Center Industry Roundtable meeting and the launch of the Restaurant Manual of the NYC Office of the Mayor. The manual is being distributed to all restaurant owners as they renew their annual licenses, as well as to all new restaurant owners. The potential number of restaurants reached is 15,000 per year.
In FY 2005, the first year requiring MD-715 report submission, the Commission received submissions from a total of 171 agencies and subcomponents. To assist agencies in preparing these reports, we conducted 109 in-person and 30 telephonic technical assistance meetings with the responsible agency employees. For the 49 agencies that timely submitted their MD-715 reports, we issued written feedback letters to the agency heads utilizing an innovative, systematic review of the submissions, referred to as the Panel Review Process, which was designed to ensure thoroughness and consistency. In FY 2006, we completed nearly 200 feedback letters to all agency heads who submitted untimely reports in FY 2005, as well as to all who timely submitted reports for the FY 2006 reporting period. A key strategy to be more responsive to our Federal sector customers was the creation and subsequent expansion of our successful Relationship Management project during FY 2006. This project, modeled after the private sector’s approach to customer service, brought Commission personnel together with EEO staff from 12 large agencies and 20 small agencies in nonadversarial partnerships to examine methods of helping these agencies foster an inclusive work culture and successfully implement the essential attributes of the MD-715's Model EEO Program.
This page was last modified on December 7, 2006
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