April 13, 2018

Warren, Colleagues Seek Strong Funding for U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Senators Call for Resources to Protect American Workers from Harassment & Discrimination

Text of the letter (PDF)

Washington, DC – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led 17 of her Senate colleagues this week in writing to Senate Appropriators to request expanded funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19).  The letter was sent to Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. 

The EEOC is tasked with enforcing the nation’s workplace anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and has the power to investigate discrimination charges that individuals file with the Commission.

In their letter, the senators raised concerns about the EEOC’s limited resources and noted the large volume of unresolved complaints at the agency.  “Harassment and discrimination are unacceptable in the workplace—yet, each year, the EEOC receives thousands of complaints of workplace misconduct,” the senators wrote.  “…Though EEOC employees, working with limited resources, have made headway in reducing the agency's complaint backlog, there were over 61,000 charges awaiting resolution at the end of FYI7.”

The senators’ letter also highlighted the national conversation around sexual harassment to justify an increase in the agency’s FY19 appropriation.  “Though sexual harassment has rightly received media and political attention in response to the #MeToo movement, it is critical that Congress provide the EEOC with the resources it needs to combat all forms of workplace harassment and discrimination, like race discrimination, which often go hand-in-hand with sex discrimination and are as pervasive throughout the workforce,” the senators continued.

Joining Senator Warren in sending this letter were Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.),  Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.).