U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Milestones: 2003

  • The EEOC strengthened outreach and education to immigrant workers through the Justice and Equality Program.  This program explained to immigrant workers that they have the right to work in a workplace free of discrimination.  This initiative, launched by the Houston District Office and then adopted by EEOC offices in Chicago, Denver, and Houston, united EEOC field staff with officials from the Consulates of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia; the Mexican Legal Defense Fund; the U.S. Departments of Labor and Justice; and various community organizations.
  • The Commission held a series of public discussions, continuing in to 2004, about the issues raised in the Freedom to Compete Initiative.
  • The Commission issued Management Directive 715 (MD-715) policy guidance for federal agencies to use in establishing and maintaining effective EEO programs under Title VII and the Rehabili­tation Act.  The essential components include: demonstrated commitment from agency leadership; integration of EEO into the agency's strategic mission; management and program accounta­bility; proactive prevention of unlawful dis­crimination; efficiency; and responsiveness and legal compliance.
  • In July, the EEOC rolled out the RESOLVE program, which is the EEOC's internal alternative dispute resolution program.  RESOLVE is a comprehensive one-stop program that provides an alternative forum for EEOC staff to resolve workplace disputes informally.  All EEOC employees can use RESOLVE, which handles all types of workplace disputes.  The RESOLVE program is a key component of the EEOC's model workplace initiative.
  • On Sept. 8, the Commission holds a public hearing, "Repositioning for New Realities: Securing the EEOC's Continued Effectiveness," to solicit input on the recommendations made by NAPA on making the agency more effective.
  • The EEOC responded to the globalization of the workforce by developing two fact sheets addressing this trend: "Employee Rights When Working for Multi­national Employers" and "The Equal Employment Opportunity Responsibilities of Multi­national Employers."  These fact sheets address frequently asked questions about how laws enforced by the EEOC apply to U.S. workers on international assignments and to workers in the U.S. employed by foreign corporations.

Notable Supreme Court Decisions

Notable EEOC Trial Victories

  • In EEOC v. Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center, Inc. No. 2:02-cv-00728-JBF-TEM  (E.D. Va. Sept. 2, 2003), a jury awarded over $4 million to an employee who was forced to resign in retaliation for her role in addressing complaints by employees about a nurse's sexually harassing behavior in the operating room's surroundings.  The jury award of $1,050,000 in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages will be subsequently reduced in accordance with statutory caps. 

Notable EEOC Resolutions

  • The Commission settles the largest-ever age discrimination lawsuit, Arnett and EEOC v. California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) (N.D. Cal. Jan. 29, 2003), compensating more than 1,700 retired state and local public safety officers who were subjected to age discrimination by CalPERS, the nation's largest public retirement fund, and California state and local government employers of public safety officers.  Under the consent decree, the class of former employees received benefits estimated at $250 million. 
  • EEOC v. The Dial Corp. (N.D. Ill. Apr. 29, 2003) settled for $10 million in compensatory damages for approximately 90 women who were subjected to a hostile work environment by male coworkers and supervisors who propositioned them for sex, groped them, called them derogatory names, circulated  pornography and appeared to stalk some female employees both at the plant and after work.  The employer agreed to pay for an independent three-person panel to monitor the implementation of the decree's terms.
  • In EEOC v. BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. (S.D. Ala. Oct. 22, 2003), the EEOC settled a race discrimination case for $883,000 for 23 African-American employees who were denied promotions and/or management skills assessment testing and training. The consent decree also prohibited the use of a test for promotion to management positions that the EEOC maintained had a disparate impact on African American employees, as well as the use of any other test or selection device prior to validation and a review by the EEOC.

Notable Federal Sector Decisions

  • In Petty v. Dep't of Def., EEOC Appeal No. 01A24206, the Commission provided guidance on  implementing the standards of summary judgment in the federal sector adjudicatory process.

Significant EEOC Guidance

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