US Agencies Issue Harassment Caution

November 20, 2001( - The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the US Departments of Justice and Labor issued a joint statement reaffirming the federal government's commitment to upholding anti-discrimination laws in the wake of September 11.

The statement, which can be viewed at at focuses on preventing and redressing incidents of workplace discrimination.

Reports of Harassment

While acknowledging that the agencies “have seen compassion and respect for people of all faiths, races, and national and ethnic origins in workplaces throughout the our country,” the group?s note that they “continue to receive reports of incidents of harassment discrimination and violence in the workplace against individuals who are, or are perceived to be, Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian or Sikh descent.”

The statement adds that “when people are singled out for unfair treatment or are harassed based on their national orifin, immigration status, ethnicity, or relifious affiliation, practies, or manner of dress, we must act quickly to address and redress these acts of discrimination.”

Coordinating Efforts

According to the statement, the three agencies plan to coordinate and increase their efforts to provide information, public education, guidance, and outreach to a broad range of stakeholders across the country including employers, employees, civil rights advocacy groups, religious and national origin communities, and the general public.

The statement encourages victims of workplace bias to report incidents to the EEOC by filing charges in person, by mail or by telephone at the nearest EEOC office, or by calling the group?s toll free phone numbers: 1-800-669-4000 or 1-800-669-6820.

Individuals may also file complaints, as appropriate, with the Departments of Justice and Labor by contacting the following:

Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel Worker Hotline at 1-800-255-7688, for national origin allegations against employers with four to 14 employees, and citizenship or immigration status allegations against all employers

Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at 1-888-376-3227, for allegations against federal government contractors.

– Camilla Klein