EEOC Meets on Discrimination Following 9/11

December 13, 2001 ( - At its first meeting under the Bush Administration, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) heard testimony and recommendations from various ethnic groups on combating backlash discrimination against members of those communities in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

The Commission also heard testimony from employers and agency officials who oversee efforts to address backlash issues.

Chair Cari Dominguez cautioned employers not to take their cues from those who view people as members of groups rather than as individuals. “In today’s anxiety-ridden environment, we urge employers to follow the law rather than turning reflexively to the stereotype of national origin or religion as a basis for employment decisions,” she said.

As of December 6 the EEOC had received 166 formal complaints of workplace discrimination specifically related to the September 11 attacks.

A panel, representing Arab, Muslim, Sikh, Middle Eastern and South Asian groups and the commissioners discussed ways to augment communication and collaboration among the EEOC, businesses, and affected ethnic and religious communities to tackle the problem of discrimination.

– Camilla Klein