The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – held a public meeting on July 18, 2012 to hear views on its proposed Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) from representatives of academic, business, civil rights, and federal sector communities, along with former EEOC leaders and current employees. The press release about the July 18 meeting is available at: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/7-18-12.cfm. Testimony and transcripts from the July 18 meeting will be available at: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/7-18-12/index.cfm. The Strategic Enforcement Plan is part of the EEOC’s ‘Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016’ adopted in February 2012 that established three objectives: strategic law enforcement, education and outreach, and efficiently serving the public. One requirement of the plan was to develop the SEP and have it in place by the start of fiscal year 2013 in October 2012. The EEOC Strategic Plan is available at: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/strategic_plan_12to16.cfm. As reported earlier in the ESR News blog ‘EEOC Meeting July 18 to Hear Input on Strategic Enforcement Plan to Combat Workplace Discrimination,’ the EEOC sought views from five roundtables – Former EEOC Leadership, Private and State and Local Government Sectors I & II, Federal Sector, and EEOC Employees – about what its national priorities should be for the next three years to have the greatest impact in combating discrimination in the workplace. According to the EEOC press release, panelists from roundtables offered the following views at the July 18 meeting:
- Participants wanted the EEOC to continue to use systemic investigations and litigation to target issues and practices where government enforcement will have the greatest impact.
- Advocacy groups urged the EEOC to focus on hiring discrimination and retaliation, pay, pregnancy, and caregiver discrimination, and develop issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).
- Employee and employer representatives called for consistent practices and procedures across field offices.
- Participants requested the EEOC devote more resources to charge processing and new outreach and education initiatives that included greater use of social media.
- Participants focusing on the federal sector noted the need for the EEOC to clarify the role of agency counsel in the investigative stage of proceedings, increased oversight of federal agency enforcement, and training for managers and employees.