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Milestones: 1981

  • In County of Washington v. Gunther, the Supreme Court holds that the Bennett Amendment, which incorporates the four affirmative defenses of the Equal Pay Act (EPA) into Title VII, does not limit Title VII pay discrimination claims to EPA claims. Title VII wage claims can be broader than EPA claims because Title VII, unlike the EPA, is "intended to strike at the entire spectrum of disparate treatment of men and women resulting from sex stereotypes."
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) becomes the fastest growing area of EEOC responsibility. The agency resolves its first ADEA lawsuit. The Leo Burnett Company agrees to pay 17 former employees $375,000 in back pay and $10,000 per year in pension adjustments because it forced employees to retire at age 62.
  • EEOC has a reduction in force of approximately 280 positions. Just a few months earlier, many employees transferred from the Civil Service Commission and the Department of Labor to EEOC pursuant to the President's Reorganization Plan No. 1.
  • Through the use of Rapid Charge Processing techniques, the charge inventory is at approximately 20,000 at the end of the year-down from 100,000 three years earlier.
  • President Ronald Reagan appoints J. Clay Smith, Jr. Acting Chairman. The Commission votes to delegate its authority to Acting Chairman Smith so that agency business can be conducted. This is the first time in the agency's history that the Commission delegates its authority to the Chairman because the Commission, due to resignations, lacks a quorum. Smith later becomes Dean of Howard University Law School.

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