The EEOC has to adopt a new strategic plan and is seeking comment (until 5 p.m .ET on January 8, 2018) about what it should do.
To weigh in, go here or to https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EEOC-2017-0005-0001.
It’s your opportunity to demand that the EEOC properly enforce the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. The Strategic Plan is a framework for the allocation of EEOC resources. You can be sure that employers and their advocates will weigh in.
In recent years, the EEOC has become a lap dog to corporate interests.
A main focus of the EEOC today is providing free mediation to resolve discrimination complaints. Mediation outcomes almost always favor the company – not clueless, unrepresented discrimination victims – while saving employers potentially millions of dollars. For good measure, the EEOC assures discriminatory employers anonymity so that workers back at the farm will remain ignorant.
The EEOC immediately rejects the vast majority of complaints it receives but it still takes up to a year or more to grant complainants the right to sue in federal court. By that time, many discrimination victims will have given up and moved on.
One might infer that politics, the U.S. Congress, hostile federal courts and just plain stupidity have played a role in the EEOC’s de-evolution but these folks get paid big bucks to take the heat and to fight for equality for all American workers. We can’t take no for an answer.
Here is the gist of my comments :
- The EEOC has yet to conduct a significant enforcement action with respect to blatantly discriminatory employment ads and ads that use internet technology to screen out older workers. For years, the EEOC has ignored overt age discrimination in hiring in Silicon Valley, despite overwhelming research and national media coverage documenting the problem.
- The EEOC is not above discriminating against older workers. It upheld two rulings last year by its appeals division dismissing age discrimination complaints where federal employers based hiring decisions on subjective criteria. In one case, the hiring manager testified he completely ignored the 27 candidates’ objective qualifications and selected five candidates under the age of 40 because he felt they were the best “cultural fit.” An EEOC guidance in a case involving national origin discrimination states that hiring for “cultural fit” is discriminatory. How can it be discriminatory for national origin but not age discrimination? Even the business community knows that hiring for cultural fit is an invitation to bias. The EEOC ignored its own policies and settled case law. It was only by chance these cases came to light; the EEOC may have issued similar rulings in hundreds of other age discrimination cases that are shrouded in secrecy due to EEOC confidentiality rules.
The EEOC is completely unaccountable to the public.
- The EEOC lacks any mechanism whereby an aggrieved complainant can file a complaint about ethical lapses of the EEOC and its staff. The so-called Administrative Judges are really just attorneys and they are not required to follow the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges. If you complain about an ethical lapse, you get an unsigned email informing you the EEOC no longer has jurisdiction in your case. Seriously! Either they think they are perfect or they don’t care what you think. The EEOC Office of Inspector General says on its website that it handles allegations of misconduct involving the EEOC and its staff but it inexplicably refuses to intervene if the misconduct involves EEOC decision-making.
- The EEOC and its staff treat age discrimination in a begrudging and dismissive fashion, as if we are intruding upon sacred territory. It could not be more obvious that age discrimination is the EEOC’s lowest priority, despite the fact that more than 20 percent of all complaints filed with the EEOC each year involve age discrimination. In 2016, the agency filed two lawsuits with age discrimination claims; it received more than 20,000 age discrimination complaints that year. A recent law school graduate who ranked at the bottom of this/her graduating class could do a better job.
- Research shows that older women are the main victims of age discrimination in hiring. Women get hit with both sex discrimination and age discrimination. That’s why women are 80 percent more likely to be poor in old age. The EEOC’s abdication of its duty to effectively implement the Age Discrimination in Employment Act contributes to the suffering of millions of older women.
If you have a few minutes, weigh in.