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Memorandum of Understanding (MOI) Signed by EEOC and Justice Department to Address Harassment of State and Local Government Employees


The MOI authorizes collaborative efforts between the agencies with regard to the investigation, resolution and litigation of charges.

On December 21st the EEOC and Department of Justice – Civil Right Division (CRT) entered into a MOI to further the objectives of Title VII with respect to discrimination charges filed against state and local governments.  The MOI “promotes interagency coordination and seeks to maximize efforts, promote efficiency, and eliminate duplication and inconsistency.”   It also includes provisions for sharing information as allowable under law. 

Pursuant to Title VII, EEOC receives and investigate charges of discrimination against state and local agencies, and if necessary, attempts to conciliate charges.  However, the DOJ is the sole federal agency that has the authority to sue state and local employers for Title VII violations.  Therefore, if EEOC’s conciliation efforts fail, the charge is referred to the Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division.  Both agencies do have the authority to initiate Title VII investigations.

The lines get blurred when it comes to wage discrimination.  EEOC has the authority under the Equal Pay Act (EPA) to sue state and local employers for paying unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal jobs.  The CRT has the authority under Title VII to sue state and local employers who engage in wage discrimination on the basis of sex. 

With respect to age discrimination at the state and local government level, EEOC has the authority to sue under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. 

Due to the EEOC and CRT’s shared and overlapping responsibilities, they have the common interest of ensuring that the Title VII enforcement is consistent, effective and not duplicative.

“I am pleased to be able to renew our work with the Department of Justice in this regard,” said Acting Chair Lipnic. “Harassment at work can have a devastating impact on people. The employees in the public sector deserve as much of our attention on this issue as those in the private sector.”  “All Americans are entitled to work with dignity in a place that is free of unlawful and discriminatory harassment,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “Last February, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division launched an initiative to fight sexual harassment in the workplace. We are also diligently working to prosecute cases of racial and other forms of illegal discrimination. Through our strong partnership with the EEOC, we will continue to identify harassment claims, prosecute lawbreakers, seek relief for victims, fight to eliminate harassment from the workplace.”

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of Workplace Dynamics LLC and is not being represented as being all-inclusive or complete. It has been abridged from legislation, administrative ruling, agency directives, and other information provided by the government. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel.