At Hearing, Committee Democrats Oppose Efforts to Weaken Workplace Discrimination Safeguard

WASHINGTON – TODAY, the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing on “The Need for More Responsible Regulatory and Enforcement Policies at the EEOC.” More than 50 years after the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Commission continues to perform vital work combatting discrimination and advancing civil rights in the workplace. In its nearly 52-year existence, the EEOC has played a crucial role in laws that protect workers from discrimination on the job. These include laws that make it illegal to discriminate against an employee or job applicant because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.

"Workplace discrimination remains a persistent problem across our nation,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Takano. “More than two million workers leave their jobs each year due to workplace discrimination, which costs U.S. employers $64 billion annually. While complaints filed with the EEOC are on the rise, the Majority has refused to increase funding for the EEOC for the past four years. It’s time for us to give the EEOC the funding it needs to take on this enormous challenge.”

In Fiscal Year 2016 alone, the EEOC received nearly 92,000 charges of discrimination, of which 65,090 charges of discrimination were under Title VII alone.  Of those charges:

  • 32, 309 (or 35.3 percent) involved allegations of racial discrimination;
  • 28,073 (or 30.7 percent) involved of discrimination based on disability;
  • 26,934 (or 29.4 percent) involved allegations of sex discrimination; and
  • 20,857 (or 22.8 percent) involved allegations of age discrimination.

In the fiscal year 2016, the EEOC successfully negotiated 4,927 settlements and conciliated 764 cases. The EEOC recovered $52.2 million in monetary benefits for victims of discrimination in 2016.

EEOC’s systemic and individual litigation helps make the promise of ‘a workplace free from discrimination’ a reality for working people.

Todd A. Cox, Director of Policy at The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, testified before the subcommittee on the regulatory and enforcement priorities of the EEOC.

“Undoubtedly, the EEOC should be applauded for the tremendous role it has played in helping to ensure that American workers are not being denied equal opportunity based on race, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, or any other protected category. But, the EEOC’s work is far from over,” said Cox. “Accordingly, we should also take this opportunity to ensure that the EEOC has the resources it needs to continue its critically important work, including systemic enforcement, to make sure that no one in this country is denied equal opportunity and fair treatment in the workplace.”

Committee Democrats will continue to put forward responsible solutions that would level the playing field so that every American has a fair chance at success.

FULL OPENING STATEMENT: Ranking Member  Mark Takano (CA-41)

FULL TESTIMONY: Todd A. Cox, Director of Policy, The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund

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