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Work/ Career

I am a woman, 58 yrs. old and disabled. In Aug. of 1993, I filed a case with the Los Angeles office of the EEOC, charging my former employer with age, sex and disability discrimination. The case was simple and clear-cut. I had been denied a promotion which was given to a man 20 yrs. my junior whom I had trained and for whom I had served as leadperson for some time. When I protested, I was laid off. I spent months exhausting every possibility of redress within the company and the parent corporation (a defense contractor, whose every contract with the American military reiterates their committment to abide by the Equal Employment Opportunity laws) before filing with the EEOC.

The case hinged on the simplest of facts to prove or disprove. The supervisor who chose the young man over me claimed he had prior experience in the work which gave him equal or better qualifications for the work than mine. I knew this to be untrue because I had given him what little training he had and was well aware of his lack of expertise. But as I had no access to his previous work history, I could not prove it. I knew that the EEOC would be able to get this information, and that his lack of prior experience would prove that the supervisor had lied and I had been discriminated against.

For 3-and-a-half years, the EEOC investigator assigned to my case, gave me an incredible run-around I will not detail here, but which I will be happy to describe if needed. In November of 1996, I was informed that the EEOC had determined that no discrimination had occurred and they would not be pursuing my case. This, despite the fact that I was able to determine that a copy of the young man's work history, showing no prior experience in the relevant field, was indeed included in the EEOC's file on my case.

I have written to my congressional representative and to my senators without effect. Two letters to the First Lady's office, in Aug. of 1995 and October of 1996, resulted in queries from the Washington EEOC office essentially asking the Los Angeles office if there was a problem with the case and replies from Los Angeles simply saying that there wasn't. But no matter whom I contact, I cannot seem to get anyone outside the Los Angeles office to look into my file and see that the proof of my charge is there and that the Los Angeles office has simply decided not to enforce the law in my case.

Some years ago, the ABC newsmagazine program "20/20" ran an expose of the behavior of the EEOC under then-director Clarence Thomas, a Reagan appointee, detailing how the EEOC actively assisted the Xerox Corporation in circumventing the law in the case of hundreds of older workers that Xerox had laid off and replaced with younger workers. I had thought that under a Democratic administration, this situation was certain to have changed or I would never have bothered to file a complaint. The EEOC is, essentially, an arm of the President of the United States, acting in his name and using his authority. I am certain that, if someone with the authority to override whatever agenda is being pursued by the Los Angeles office of the EEOC will simply pull the file on my case and look into it for 5 minutes, my charge against that office will be vindicated.

I need to know how to further pursue this matter. I cannot give up, because the EEOC's failure to act has, quite simply, destroyed my life and my future. It should be obvious, too, that if that office has dealt with a case as simple as mine in this manner, there must be hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of others who have suffered the same treatment at their hands.

If anyone can suggest how I may proceed from this point, please e-mail me at Bazu2@aol.com I will be eternally grateful for any assistance.

Thank you, Barbara

I'm sorry to hear about 1.) all of the harassement that you have been subjected to and 2.) that you have not been heard. From what I have heard, this is not surprising for the EEOC. Apparently, due to the overwhelming number of calls/requests they receive, they do not give proper attention to many of them. Even when they respond to the cases, they still don't have enough time to do full investigations. Another point about the EEOC, is that regardless of who heads it, the majority of the EEOC staff is there--permanently. (Such is the life of government employee.)

I would suggest that you contact 9to5, National Association of Working Women. They have successfully pursued many sex discrimination and sexual harassment cases. They have a toll free number: 1-800-522-0925.

I hope this helps. If, no, please let me know and I will try to come up with other suggestions.


Amy

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