WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that two of its attorneys have been selected to participate in a newly created Government Fellowship Program of the American Bar Association (ABA). Under the program, EEOC legal staff with a record of excellence in civil rights law will serve as members of the ABA's EEO Committee, part of the Section of Labor and Employment Law.
"The Commission's participation in this innovative fellowship program marks another step in our continuing effort to form collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders to promote equal opportunity at the workplace," said EEOC Chairwoman Ida L. Castro.
Ms. Castro added: "I am heartened by the fact that the ABA had so many outstanding attorneys at EEOC to choose from and I commend the ABA's Section of Labor and Employment Law for sponsoring this important initiative. The program will benefit both EEOC and private bar attorneys by fostering a close working relationship while also promoting civil rights enforcement."
Fellows are encouraged to take part in all EEO Committee activities including preparing publications, acting as instructors at various programs, and attending the EEO Committee's mid-winter meetings. The annual meetings offer a valuable forum for fellows to exchange views with private bar attorneys from across the country who represent plaintiffs, unions, and employers. The agenda includes comprehensive seminars on substantive EEO matters, recent developments in employment discrimination case law and legislation, and litigation practice tips and advice. The next mid-winter meeting will be held from March 21 - 25 in Tucson, Arizona.
The two EEOC senior trial attorneys chosen for the fellowship program, which runs from this month until September 2002, are Faye Williams of the agency's Memphis District Office and Lynette Barnes of the Charlotte District Office. Ms. Williams began working for the EEOC's Memphis office as a trial attorney in 1989 and has litigated cases in Tennessee and Arkansas. Ms. Barnes has held her present position with the Commission since 1995, working on litigation in North Carolina and South Carolina.
The EEOC and the ABA have agreed to increase the number of fellows to six individuals by the end of the three-year program two additional fellows will join the program in 2001 and 2002, respectively.
In addition to the EEOC attorneys selected for the program, two other government lawyers have also received fellowships, one from the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section; and one from the Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, Division of Civil Rights.
"This fellowship program is but one aspect of a section-wide effort designed to encourage a diverse pool of lawyers to join and participate meaningfully in our activities," said Max Zimny, Chair of the ABA's Section of Labor and Employment Law. "The Section's leadership is committed in principle to this program as a constructive further step in partnering with the EEOC in major areas of joint interest."
EEOC Vice Chairman Paul M. Igasaki and Commissioner Paul Steven Miller were instrumental in launching a successful joint training project with the ABA's EEO Committee in 1998. The project involved attorneys from plaintiff, management, and union bars sharing their expertise with Commission staff at the local level. It was designed to harness pro bono resources to enhance the capabilities of EEOC field staffs in areas ranging from voluntary mediation to investigation and litigation.
The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Equal Pay Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; prohibitions against discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal government; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.
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