When Americans believe they face workplace discrimination, they can turn to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Established in 1965, the EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans workplace discrimination. Its mission is to stop and remedy unlawful employment discrimination. Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate against a worker or job applicant based on these attributes:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Color (discrimination based on lightness, darkness or other color characteristic)
  • Sex (includes protection from discrimination due to pregnancy)
  • National origin
  • Age (people 40 or older are protected)
  • Disability
  • Genetic information (includes protection from discrimination based on one’s family medical history)

The EEOC investigates and assesses charges of discrimination against workers. If it finds discrimination, it offers mediation as a solution. A survey found that 96 percent of employers and 91 percent of employees who have been involved in mediation would use it again.

If mediation fails, the EEOC may file a lawsuit against the employer.

An individual may file a discrimination charge either in person at an EEOC office or by mail. While there is no way to file a charge online, an online assessment tool can evaluate a proposed complaint to ensure that it meets the required standards.

EEOC offices are found in every state. In a recent year, Americans filed 88,788 charges of workplace discrimination with the EEOC.