Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) - Business in United States of America

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Commission Functions

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Enforcement

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Changing EEOC

Date: Established in 1964

Identification: Federal agency given the task of enforcing laws that prohibit businesses from discriminating on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, age, or disability

Significance: The EEOC is responsible for many late twentieth century changes in the hiring, promotion, and dismissal procedures of American businesses. By enforcing antidiscrimination laws, the agency has forced businesses to diversify their workforces and to follow regulations that allow the government to intervene into some of the most basic business decisions.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 placed employment discrimination at the forefront of the legal system. The act forbade discrimination in hiring, promotion, or dismissal because of race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, or religion. Suddenly, business practices once deemed lawful became grounds for a federal lawsuit. To aid in the enforcement of this law, Congress created the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and granted it the authority to define the different elements of employment discrimination, establish the procedures for investigating claims of discrimination, and collect evidence of illegal acts.

Douglas Clouatre

Further Reading

  • Burstein, Paul. Discrimination, Jobs, and Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. Describes the political aspects of job discrimination lawsuits and how enforcement of these laws against business has affected the economic climate. 
  • Busse, Richard. Employees’ Rights. Napierville, Ill.: Sourcebooks, 2004. General guide to the antidiscrimination laws that apply to employees and how those laws are used to defend employees’ rights if discrimination occurs.
  • Cavanagh, Matt. Against Equality of Opportunity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Challenging the view that equality is a positive force in society, Cavanagh criticizes government’s attempts to force equal outcomes through legislation.
  • Guerin, Lisa, and Amy Delpo. Essential Guide to Federal Employment Law. Berkeley, Calif.: NOLO, 2006. Broad-based examination of race, gender, age, and disability laws as applied to employment and business.
  • Segrave, Kerry. Age Discrimination by Employers. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2001. One of the duties of the EEOC is investigating age discrimination in the workplace, and this book defines age discrimination and discusses how the government has sought to ban it. 

See also: Civil Rights movement; Supreme Court and labor law; Women in business.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Changing EEOC

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Enforcement

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Commission Functions

Affirmative action programs: Civil Rights Act of 1964

Seneca Falls Convention

Civil Rights movement

Civil Rights Act of 1964

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