Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of certain protected characteristics, including race, religion, national origin, color, and gender. The law also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is the federal agency which is tasked with interpreting and enforcing the laws that prohibit discrimination. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler assist clients who have been the victims of unlawful workplace discrimination.
How the EEOC enforces Title VII and other anti-discrimination laws
The EEOC investigates charges of discrimination. It holds hearings, issues regulations, administers laws for federal employees, and litigates cases of discrimination. The agency also tries to mediate settlements and interprets the federal anti-discrimination laws.
What laws are enforced by the EEOC?
The EEOC enforces federal anti-discrimination laws, including the following:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- The Equal Pay Act, which requires men and women to be paid equally for equal work
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects older workers ages 40 and older from workplace discrimination
- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination because of genetic information
Responsibilities of the EEOC
The EEOC has multiple responsibilities. When Congress passes anti-discrimination laws, the agency will often be responsible for issuing regulations. It also might issue regulations in response to an amendment or to a Supreme Court decision. The regulations establish enforcement procedures, define terms used in the laws, and fill in other gaps in the laws.
The EEOC sometimes issues guidance about specific issues. The guidance documents explain how to apply the laws in real-world situations. It may also hold hearings and ask for public comments when it is considering taking new regulatory action. The EEOC also is responsible for ensuring that the federal government complies with equal opportunity in employment.
When workers believe that they have been the victims of unlawful discrimination, they are able to file discrimination charges with the EEOC. The agency accepts discrimination charges from workers and job applicants. You must file a discrimination charge before you can file a lawsuit.
After the EEOC receives a discrimination charge, it evaluates it and decides how it should proceed. It may dismiss the charge if the EEOC believes that the claim doesn’t violate the law or if the agency does not have jurisdiction over it. It may also choose to investigate a charge. This might include interviewing witnesses, asking for information from the worker and the employer, gathering documents, and visiting the workplace. In some cases, the EEOC might attempt to mediate a settlement. If an agreement is reached, the case will be resolved. If it is not resolved, the EEOC may litigate the charge on behalf of the employee or allow the employee to file a lawsuit on his or her own.
Contact Swartz Swidler
If you believe that you have faced unlawful discrimination at your job, you may have rights. Schedule an appointment with the employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler to learn about the options that you might have.