U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Milestones: 1995

  • A unanimous Supreme Court in McKennon v. Nashville Banner Publishing Co., rejects the so called "after acquired evidence" doctrine applied by lower courts to bar a plaintiff from proving unlawful discrimination. Under the doctrine, employers after firing an employee or taking other adverse action, justify their actions by relying on evidence uncovered after the employee's termination which would have justified the termination. The Supreme Court rules that in such cases, the employer is still liable for having violated an anti-discrimination law but that the employee is not entitled to reinstatement or to back pay for the period after the employer learns of the misconduct.
  • EEOC wins a religious discrimination case, EEOC v. Ilona of Hungary, Inc., which involved the termination of two women who were fired for taking Yom Kippur off from work. The employer refused to accommodate the religious beliefs of employees.
  • The Commission approves changing the agency's private sector charge processing system from the one on one full investigation approach to a more strategic approach. The new approach -- priority charge processing -- allows early dismissal of charges in which the agency has no jurisdiction, and early dismissal of those charges which are self-defeating or unsupported. Charges where the initial evidence suggests a violation of law are prioritized. The Agency no longer investigates charges based on the filing date, nor will it insist on "full relief" in every case where a violation has been found. EEOC's backlog of approximately 112,000 charges begins to decline.
  • For the first time, more individuals file charges alleging disability discrimination than discrimination on account of age.
  • EEOC undertakes a new partnership with state and local Fair Employment Practice Agencies (FEPAs) designed to eliminate duplication of effort in charge processing and reducing unnecessary reporting requirements. EEOC and the FEPAs create a Joint Standing Committee that regularly reviews programs and jointly resolves issues of mutual interest.
  • Between November 1995 and January 1996, the Federal Government is twice shut down for several days when Congress and the President do not agree on the federal budget. EEOC offices across the country are officially closed, but are staffed by volunteers to accept charges and counsel members of the public.

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