The EEOC: “The Fox Guarding the Henhouse”

“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).