Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2010


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has struggled to be a meaningful force in eradicating employment discrimination since its inception. The primary reasons for this are structural in nature. The EEOC was designed to react to discrimination complaints by investigating and conciliating all of the thousands of complaints filed annually. The EEOC has never been able to investigate all these complaints despite using the vast majority of its resources attempting to do so. The devotion of resources to managing and investigating the huge volume of complaints prevents the EEOC from taking more effective steps to eliminate discrimination. This article proposes a reinvention of the EEOC by making significant changes to the EEOC’s organization and responsibilities. I advocate five fundamental changes. First, the EEOC should no longer be required to accept and investigate all complaints of discrimination. Instead, it should only investigate and litigate significant claims of discrimination. Second, the threat of EEOC litigation must be given greater force by allowing the EEOC to collect attorneys’ fees and fines from employers when it prevails in litigation. Third, because its mediation program has been quite effective, the EEOC should partner with the federal courts to provide mediation in employment discrimination cases filed in federal court. Fourth, the EEOC should increase its information-gathering and analysis activities to better understand and combat current trends in employment discrimination. Finally, the EEOC needs to expand its discrimination prevention programs by providing significantly more information and training to employers to assist them in complying with federal laws.



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