EEOC – Building Awareness  

 The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has developed the “Freedom to Compete” initiative in order to encourage fair and open work- place practices across America. To generate national awareness of the initiative, four public service announcement (PSA) spots were produced to coincide with the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games, featuring Olympic speedskater Jennifer Rodriguez, Paralympic-hopeful Joshua Sundquist, and U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Lloyd Ward. The spots were distributed to more than 1.000 TV stations, 600 cable TV stations and all Spanish language TV stations.

“The “Freedom to Compete’ initiative is designed to ensure that all Americans have the freedom to compete in the workplace and achieve their fullest potential, with- out regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or disability,” said EEOC Chair Cari M. Dominguez. “Each of these PSAS vividly illustrates the core message. Just like athletes dream to compete, every person in America wants the Freedom to Compete’ on a level playing field in the workplace.”

The first spot in the campaign is titled “The Clock,” featuring Jennifer Rodriguez and Lloyd Ward. As the first athlete of Hispanic descent to compete at the Winter Games, Rodriguez feels a personal responsibility as a positive role model for women and girls. The message: “The clock doesn’t ask if you’re a man or a woman… How old you are… Or what color your skin is…It only asks: What’s the best you can do?”

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“Wonder,” the second spot in the campaign, includes 17-year-old Paralympic-hopeful Joshua Sundquist and Lloyd Ward. Sundquist lost his left leg to cancer at the age of nine and is currently training to compete in the 2006 Paralympics in hopes of earning a place on the U.S. Disabled Ski Team. The message: “Ever won der what you could really do if you set your mind to it? If you had the chance? There’s something wonderful in each of us. And all it takes to find out what you can do…is an equal opportunity.”

The third spot, titled “Dreams,” features Jennifer Rodriguez, Lloyd Ward and Joshua Sundquist sharing their personal dreams. The message: “To be an Olympic athlete. To be a Fortune 500 CEO. To ski downhill at amazing speeds. We each have our own dreams. But really, it’s the same dream. To have the freedom to compete…the opportunity to do our best.”

The final spot, “Lloyd Ward,” is a 15-second spot in which Ward talks about the “Freedom to Compete” message.

The “Freedom to Compete” initiative encourages employers to identify employment practices that may still be obstructing fair and free competition in the workplace. Stronger relationships between employers and employees will enhance economic stability, and therefore growth, in communities across the country.

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What is the EEOC?

The BEOC was created by the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 and has been pursuing its congressionally mandated mission to eliminate discrimination in employment since 1965. With its headquarters in Washington, D.C., and through the operations of 51 field offices nationwide, the EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability. The EEOC also provides oversight, coordination, and interpretation of federal equal employment opportunity regulations, practices, and policies.

Any individual who believes he or she has been discriminated against in employment may file an administrative charge with the EEOC. After investigating the charge, the EEOC determines if there is reasonable cause to believe discrimination has occurred. If reasonable cause is found, the EEOC attempts to con ciliate the charge by reaching a voluntary resolution between the charging party and the respondent. If conciliation is not successful, the Commission may bring suit in federal court. As part of the administrative process, the EEOC may also issue a Right-to-Sue-Notice to the charging party. allowing the charging party to file an individual. action in court without the Agency’s involvement..

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The EEOC enforces:

• Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

• The Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

• The Equal Pay Act.

• Title I of the Americans with Dis abilities Act, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments.

• Prohibitions against discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal government.

• Sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991

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