WASHINGTON, D.C., April 15, 2015 – Today, 50 years since the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law President and Executive Director Barbara Arnwine testified on the 21st century challenges to an equal playing field in the work environment. Racial minorities and women continue to face unfair conditions, from hiring discrimination to equal pay. A panelist for the EEOC meeting in Miami, Florida, Ms. Arnwine stressed the importance of continued EEOC enforcement of federal anti-discrimination laws, given the landscape of new and continued struggles to equal employment opportunity.
Ms. Arnwine outlined two major issues African Americans and Latinos face in their employment experience: the disproportionate negative impact of criminal background checks and credit checks. As a result of mass incarceration and various factors that leave Blacks and Latinos more vulnerable to negative credit histories, minorities are more often excluded from job opportunities all together. These discriminatory practices contribute to the economic insecurity that currently suffocates communities of color. Ms. Arnwine also urged the EEOC to consider the challenges facing Black women of color, including addressing our nation’s unconscionable wage gap.
The enforcement of our nation’s civil rights laws, particularly those in the employment context, is of paramount importance to the Lawyers’ Committee and the broader civil rights community. The EEOC plays a critical role in this process and for the past 50 years has been at the forefront of protecting the rights of American workers. The Lawyers’ Committee applauds the EEOC for its efforts to advance the rights of workers throughout America and looks forward to working together to further this essential work.
Click here for Ms. Arnwine’s full testimony.