The EEOC: “The Fox Guarding the Henhouse”

by Hans Bader on March 31, 2009 · 4 comments

in Economy, Employment, Labor, Sanctimony

“The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, responsible for ensuring that the nation’s workers are treated fairly, has itself willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act on a nationwide basis with its own employees, an arbitrator has ruled.”

The EEOC has a much worse record of labor and civil-rights violations than most corporations and agencies with a similar-size workforce.

The EEOC was found guilty of systematic, illegal, reverse discrimination (discrimination against white males) in Jurgens v. Thomas, 29 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 1561, 1982 WL 409 (N.D.Tex.1982). When he was head of the EEOC, Clarence Thomas tried but apparently failed to end the reverse discrimination that went on in the agency.

The EEOC also has had a lot of sexual harassment lawsuits against it (and I am talking about real sexual harassment, not weak claims based on a couple of off-color jokes, the sort of trivial thing the EEOC itself might unsuccessfully sue a private employer over).See, e.g., Spain v. Gallegos, 26 F.3d 439 (3rd Cir.1994).

In short, the EEOC is like “the fox guarding the henhouse.” See John Berlau, “Discrimination at the Opportunity Commission,” Insight, May 19, 1997.

The EEOC continued to discriminate against white male employees, including those white males, like attorney Joseph Ray Terry, that it sent to defend affirmative action in court. See, e.g., Terry v. Gallegos, 926 F.Supp. 679 (W.D. Tenn. 1996) (court ruled that agency discriminated against attorney Joseph Ray Terry, who has long argued in court on behalf of affirmative action).

Ironically, Terry, after winning his reverse discrimination suit, argued that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 preempted California’s state constitutional amendment banning reverse discrimination. I and the other attorneys who represented the amendment’s sponsors successfully argued that it did not. Although a trial judge agreed with him, the federal appeals court for the Ninth Circuit overturned that decision, and upheld the amendment, known as Prop. 209. That court also rejected claims by the ACLU that Prop. 209, by mandating equal treatment for whites, Asians, and males, and thus prohibiting many forms of affirmative action, itself violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. See Coalition for Economic Equity v. Wilson, 122 F.3d 692 (9th Cir. 1997). (The ACLU also argues that free speech, privacy, jury trial, and other constitutional rights need to be restricted to protect minorities).

The world would be a better place if the EEOC spent more time rooting out discrimination in its own ranks, and less time trying to ban offensive words protected by the First Amendment, and less time suing the Salvation Army for requiring employees to speak English (a lawsuit far more harmful than the EEOC’s silly lawsuit against Hooters).

The EEOC seems hypocritical, but perhaps no more so than a President who harps endlessly on “responsibility” while proposing a budget that would increase projected deficits by $4.8 trillion to $9.3 trillion, flouting his repeated campaign promise to implement a “net spending cut” if elected (plus a pork-filled $800 billion stimulus package that will shrink the economy).

DWPittelli March 31, 2009 at 9:44 am

This sort of statistic isn't new, and I have read of similar statistics in state anti-discrimination agencies. It's certainly possible that top management of anti-discrimination agencies is disproportionately willing to engage in illegal discrimination, but it seems as likely to me that government workers who are closely familiar with these laws, and used to trying to prove that such violations occur, might be hyper-sensitive to such issues, and might be especially willing even to make things up, when the result is likely to be a nice pile of money, with no real downside to themselves (they're probably even more immune to firing after such a judgment). In contrast, in the private sector engaging in such a suit might get you the big money (if your employer has deep pockets), but it's also likely to make you unemployable.

robotech master March 31, 2009 at 11:44 am

I'm SHOCKED simply SHOCKED to find out a group created solely to enforce racist laws is racist…

What next scientists who profit from predicting the end of the world but through careful control of us stupid ppl will with their magic snake oil prevent this end of the world from happening….

abdul March 31, 2009 at 12:00 pm

From what I've heard, the EEOc has a high number of claims because the employees there know how to game the system. A lot of people who suffer an employment-related injustice try to shoe-horn their claim into an illegal discrimination suit because there's very few other options available.

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