Commission Establishes Priorities for Enforcement and Strategies for Integrating Agency Responsibilities

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently approved a Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) to establish national enforcement priorities and better integrate enforcement responsibilities. The SEP passed 3-1 with bipartisan support.

"The SEP promotes more strategic use of agency resources with the ultimate goal of advancing EEOC's mission of stopping and remedying unlawful discrimination," said EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien.

The SEP grew out of the EEOC's Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016, which was approved on February 22, 2012. It is the result of unprecedented public and staff input, including the creation of an internal SEP Workgroup to develop a draft of the plan and holding a Commission meeting. More than 30 stakeholders testified at the public meeting, many urging the Commission to target specific discrimination issues and to improve the efficiency, quality and consistency of its enforcement programs and in dealing with the public.

Commissioner Victoria Lipnic noted that "the SEP reflects the diverse feedback that we received from a broad cross-section of agency staff and stakeholders."

The purpose of the SEP is to focus and coordinate the EEOC's programs to have a sustainable impact in reducing and deterring discriminatory practices in the workplace. The SEP identifies six national priorities as the focus of this integrated enforcement effort. These are:

  • Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring;
  • Protecting immigrant, migrant and other vulnerable workers;
  • Addressing emerging and developing employment discrimination issues;
  • Enforcing equal pay laws;
  • Preserving access to the legal system; and
  • Preventing harassment through systemic enforcement and targeted outreach.

In addition to these national priorities, the SEP also calls for the development of local and federal sector priorities to address particular issues prevalent in either a geographic location or within the federal sector.

The SEP also contains integration strategies that promote good government. The SEP directs EEOC to pursue a coordinated approach to ensure "consistent and integrated enforcement" throughout the three sectors over which the agency has jurisdiction: private, public (state and local), and federal. The goals are greater consistency and increased efficiency throughout the Commission's program areas, offices and among staff.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcement federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.