Deliberate discrimination against job seekers based on their race, sex, age, national origin or other prohibited basis remains a major national problem, a battery of experts told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a Commission meeting yesterday (June 22, 2011).
“Intentional discrimination in hiring remains a significant problem,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “The EEOC will continue to address this problem through enhanced education and outreach and through vigorous enforcement of the law.”
At the start of the meeting, EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez recounted a hiring case he litigated against WalMart when he was an EEOC trial attorney in Phoenix. The case arose out of a charge by two deaf applicants who were expressly denied by the company because they were deaf. As part of a negotiated settlement, the company aired a commercial on Arizona television stations featuring the two, telling viewers in sign language, with a voiceover, their story and educating the public about the nation’s equal employment laws. A video of that commercial was shown at the meeting.
“Unfortunately, discriminatory hiring practices such as conformity to discriminatory customer preferences, employing prohibited stereotypes about jobs, and targeted recruitment procedures aimed at only attracting certain racial or national origin group member applicants, continue to exist,” Lopez said. “Where necessary, the EEOC will use litigation to stamp out these practices and provide relief to the victims of discrimination.”