Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), U.S. agency created in 1964 to end discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in employment and to promote programs to make equal employment opportunity a reality. It has since become responsible for ending discrimination based on age or disability. The commission receives charges of discrimination, investigates, and if they appear true, attempts to remedy them through conciliation. If conciliation is not secured, the commission may bring suit in federal court. During the Reagan and Bush administrations (1981–93) it was criticized for shifting from blanket to individual complaints, for permitting no retroactive application of the Civil Rights Law of 1991, and for letting thousands of age discrimination cases lapse. In 1996 it began the mediation-based alternative dispute resolution program to help it resolve charges faster. The commision handles 75,000 to 80,000 charges annually.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.