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Milestones: 2002

  • President George W. Bush launched the New Freedom Initiative to achieve full integration of individ­uals with disabilities into all aspects of the nation's social and economic life.  For people with disabilities, unemployment was as high as 70%. In support of the administration, the EEOC encouraged employers to hire more individuals with disa­bilities and provided advice on the ADA.
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    Freedom to Compete PSAs

    Chair Dominguez launched the "Freedom to Compete" initiative, an "outreach, education, and coalition-building strategy designed to complement the agency's enforcement and litigation programs." As part of the initiative, the EEOC produced a series of public service announcements (PSAs) to run on television, featuring athletes from the 2002 Olympics and Paralympics.
  • In May, Congress passes and President Bush signs into law the "Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002," or the No FEAR Act, to become effective October 2003.  It makes federal agencies accountable for violations of antidiscrimination and whistleblower protection laws, and requires agencies to post data about their EEO complaints on their public websites.
  • The Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs produced two videos: Marching Toward Opportunity, an overall history of the agency and its work, and Phoenix Rising: The EEOC in New York, the story of the destruction of the EEOC's New York District Office at Seven World Trade Center on 9/11 and its recovery. 
  • To further its Five Point Plan for organizational excellence, the Commission contracted with the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to evaluate headquarters and field structure, how the agency could communicate more efficiently with the public, and how to improve overall efficiency and performance.  The EEOC's Office of Human Resources completes the agency's transition from paper to elec­tronic processing for personnel matters for the agency's own employees. 

Notable Supreme Court Decisions

  • In its 2002 term, the Supreme Court issued seven decisions relating to the laws enforced by the EEOC. These included an analysis of the ADA's requirement of 'substantially limits a major life activity' and definition of reasonable accommodation and direct threat; agreements to arbitrate; back pay for individuals not legally authorized to work; and procedural matters such as timeliness of charges and continuing violations.

Notable EEOC Settlements

  • During 2002, the EEOC entered into a number of settlements which included large monetary relief, and many claimants. A few of the largest follow:
    • EEOC v. Bell Atlantic & NYNEX (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 9, 2002), $48.9 million to approximately 12,326 current and former female employees in 13 states; pattern and practice of pregnancy discrimination by denying pension credits for pregnancy and maternity leaves.   
    • EEOC v. Rent-A-Center, Inc. (S.D. Ill. Oct. 4, 2002), $47 million to about 4,600 women denied employment and promotion, or discharged because of their sex. Over 1,100 women were offered jobs.
    • EEOC v. Foot Locker Specialty, Inc.(S.D.N.Y. Nov. 4, 2002), $3.5 million in back pay and liquidated damages for 678 people discriminated against because of their age.
    • EEOC v. The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. (E.D. Wis. June 28, 2002), $1.775 million in damages to 36 individuals required to submit to medical examinations with genetic testing if they filed injury reports of work-related carpal tunnel syndrome.
    • EEOC v. Iowa AG, LLC and Decoster Farms of Iowa (N.D. Iowa Oct. 2 2002), $1.525 million to Mexican female employees at a poultry and egg processing plant who were subjected to egregious sexual harassment, including rape and sexual assaults by their supervisors, as well as intimidation and retaliation.  
    • EEOC v. McKesson Water Products Co. (C.D. Cal. Feb. 14, 2002), $1.245 million to African American sales representatives who were assigned routes in minority and low-income neighborhoods where they earned less than non-African-American sales representatives assigned to more affluent routes. 

Significant EEOC Guidance

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