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EEOC to focus on individual complaints.

EEOC to focus on individual complaints

In a major policy change, the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it will concentrate on resolving complaints by specific individuals. In the past, the EEOC had initiated a number of major actions on behalf of classes of employees of companies such as General Electric, AT&T, and Sears Roebuck.

EEOC Chairman Clarence Thomas said the agency will now "seek remedies for individuals where there is a finding of discrimination. This is a significantly tougher stand for people who have been hurt by discrimination.' He said the new approach will not involve goals or timetables. Thomas indicated that the EEOC might on occasion initiate actions on behalf of classes of employees, but in such cases will press for damages and jobs only for the individuals of the class who can prove they have been discriminated against. For other members, remedies sought will be limited to procedural changes in personnel policies.

Ann Ladky, executive director of Women Employed, an advocacy group that monitors the EEOC, criticized the change in enforcement approach. She contended that much discrimination is systemic, requiring broad enforcement actions rather than individual actions. She also claims that the new approach means that "enforcement won't be vigorous.'
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Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Apr 1, 1985
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