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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Agency overview
Formed July 2, 1965
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Employees 2,174 (2008)
Annual budget $344 million (2009)[1]
Agency executives Stuart J. Ishimaru,, Acting chairman
Chair person and 3 vacant commissioner positions are awaiting Senate confirmation[2]
Equal Opportunity Commission

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is an independent federal agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination. The EEOC investigates discrimination complaints based on an individual's race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability and retaliation for reporting and/or opposing a discriminatory practice. It is empowered to file discrimination suits against employers on behalf of alleged victims and to adjudicate claims of discrimination brought against federal agencies.[3][4]



The EEOC was established on July 2, 1965; its mandate is specified under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), [5] the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.

All Commission seats and the post of general counsel to the commission are filled by the President of the U.S. subject to confirmation by the Senate. [6] Stuart J. Ishimaru, a Commissioner who was Senate-confirmed in 2003 and 2006,[7] has been serving as Acting Chair of the Commission since January 20, 2009. In July 2009, President Barack Obama chose Jacqueline Berrien to Chair the Commission, but the Senate has yet to vote on her nomination.[8] In September 2009, Obama chose Chai Feldblum to fill another vacant seat,[9] and her nomination is also awaiting a vote on the Senate floor. Feldblum has been reported by Fox News to be controversial among conservatives and certain religious groups because of her prior activism on gay rights.[10] As of February 2010, three of the five Commission posts and the general counsel position remain unfilled.[2]

Staffing, workload, and backlog

In 1975, when backlog reached more than 100,000 charges to be investigated, President Gerald Ford's full requested budget of $62 million was approved. A "Backlog Unit" was created in 1978 in Philadelphia to resolve the thousands of federal equal employment complaints inherited from the Civil Service Commission.

In June 2006, civil rights and labor union advocates publicly complained that the effectiveness of the EEOC was being undermined by budget and staff cuts and the outsourcing of complaint screening to a private contractor whose workers were poorly trained. In 2006 a partial budget freeze prevented the agency from filling vacant jobs, and its staff had shrunk by nearly 20 percent from 2001. A Bush administration official stated that the cuts had been made because it was necessary to direct more money to defense and homeland security.[11] By 2008, the EEOC had lost 25% of its staff over the previous eight years, including investigators and lawyers who handle the cases. The number of complaints to investigate grew to 95,400 in fiscal 2008, up 26 percent from 2006.[12]

Although full-time staffing of the EEOC was cut between 2002 and 2006, Congress increased the commission's budget during that period (as it has almost every year since 1980). The budget was $303 million in fiscal year 2001[1] to $327 million in fiscal year 2006.[12] The outsourcing to Pearson Government Solutions in Kansas cost the agency 4.9 million and was called a "huge waste of money" by the president of the EEOC employees' union in 2006.[11]

Chairs of the EEOC

No. Chair of the EEOC Picture Start of Term End of Term President(s)
1 Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr.jpg May 26, 1965 May 11, 1966 Lyndon Johnson
2 Stephen N. Shulman Stephen Shulman chair of EEOC.jpg September 14, 1966 July 1, 1967 Lyndon Johnson
3 Clifford J. Alexander Jr Clifford J. Alexander Jr chair of EEOC.jpg August 4, 1967 May 1, 1969 Lyndon Johnson
4 William H. Brown, III William H Brown-EEOC.jpg May 5, 1969 December 23, 1973 Richard Nixon
5 John H. Powell, Jr John H Powell-eeoc.jpg December 28, 1973 March 18, 1975 Richard Nixon
Acting Ethel Bent Walsh 1975 1975 Gerald Ford
6 Lowell W. Perry Perry-full.jpg May 27, 1975 May 15, 1976 Gerald Ford
Acting Ethel Bent Walsh May 1976 May 1977 Gerald Ford
7 Eleanor Holmes Norton Eleanor Holmes Norton Chair EEOC.jpg May 27, 1977 February 21, 1981 Jimmy Carter
Acting J. Clay Smith, Jr. 1981 1982 Ronald Reagan
8 Clarence Thomas Thomaseeoc.jpg May 6, 1982 March 8, 1990 Ronald Reagan
9 Evan J. Kemp, Jr. Kemp-full.jpg March 8, 1990 April 2, 1993 Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Acting Tony Gallegos 1993 1994 Bill Clinton
10 Gilbert Casellas Gilbert Casellas EEOC.jpg September 29, 1994 December 31, 1997 Bill Clinton
Acting Paul Igasaki Paul pic2.JPG 1998 1998 Bill Clinton
11 Ida L. Castro Ida L. Castro EEOC.jpg October 23, 1998 August 13, 2001 Bill Clinton
12 Cari M. Dominguez CariD.jpg August 6, 2001 August 31, 2006 George W. Bush
13 Naomi C. Earp Earp.jpg September 1, 2006 2009 George W. Bush
Acting Stuart J. Ishimaru

Stuart Ishimaru EEOC.jpg January 20, 2009 Present Barack Obama
Nominated Jacqueline A. Berrien

Nominated 7/17/09,
Senate confirmation pending[13]
Barack Obama


  1. ^ a b "EEOC Budget and Staffing History". Archives. Last update May 12, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "About the Commission". Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  3. ^ See "42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 - Unlawful Employment Practices".  and "42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3 - Other Unlawful Practices". 
  4. ^ In addition, The EEOC, the Departments of Labor and Justice, the Civil Service Commission and the Office of Revenue Sharing have adopted Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures to assist employers in complying with federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. [ "Uniform Guidelines On Employee Selection Procedures"]. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  5. ^ 29 U.S.C. 621 et seq., as amended
  6. ^ "42 U.S.C. § 2000e-4 - Equal Employment Opportunity Commission". 
  7. ^ "Nominations PN845-110 and PN1029-108". Thomas (Library of Congress. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  8. ^ Press Office (July 16, 2009). "President Obama Announces Pick to Head Equal Employment Opportunity Commission". >
  9. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". September 14, 2009. 
  10. ^ Bream, Shannon (December 10, 2009). Fox News. 
  11. ^ a b Lee, Christopher (June 14, 2006). "EEOC Is Hobbled, Groups Contend: Case Backlog Grows as Its Staff Is Slashed, Critics Say". Washington Post. 
  12. ^ a b Vogel, Steve (March 31, 2009). "EEOC Willfully Violated Pay Law, Arbitrator Rules". Washington Post. p. A15. 
  13. ^ "Nominations In Committee (Civilian)". U.S. Senate Legislation and Records. Retrieved December 1 2009. 

See also

External links



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