What is Equal Employment Opportunity?

By Shlok Garg3 min read · Posted Aug 29, 2022


The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that was designed to enforce Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), a concept that stems from the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, that interdicts all private and public entities from discriminating against applicants and employees on the basis of physical attributes or their religion. The EEO employer will often have an Equal Employment Opportunity Statement to illustrate their dedication to provided every human being with the same opportunity to succeed, and, in this way, the statement both entices more job applicants and demonstrates obedience to the government’s law.

The Origins of Equal Employment Opportunity and the EEOC

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was not only considered to be one of American history’s most significant successes for the civil rights movement, but one of the mandates would change the course of American economy: Title VII. Title VII established the EEOC in order to administer its new, revolutionary law that, as Cornell Law School states, “prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion, and also prohibits employers from retaliating against any employee who exercises his or her rights under Title VII.” Title VII would eventually be amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, which would imbue the EEOC with sufficient litigation authority to execute their role in government, and it would also force public entities to abide by Title VII.

The Equal Employment Opportunity’s Coming-of-Age Story

President John F. Kennedy was inducted into the White House in 1961, and he initially aimed to implement anti-discrimination measures, until he witnessed the police’s egregious response to the non-violent Birmingham protests. In June of 1963, JFK would introduce America to, arguably, the most comprehensive civil rights legislation to date. However, his assassination in November, and the desperate endeavors of southern politicians, inhibited the ratification of the Civil Rights Act for several months. After receiving a vote of 290-130 in the House of Representatives, the bill’s progression to ratification was at a complete standstill, as Democrats staged a 75-day filibuster. Eventually, the bill would receive two-thirds of the votes and would be signed into law on June 2, 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. With this piece of legislation, Title VII would make it illegal for employers to discriminate against potential applicants and employees because of their physical attributes or the religious affiliations.

The Deeper Implications of Equal Employment Opportunity and the EEOC

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is still extolled as the “second emancipation,” and its effect has manifested in the social advancement and success of black people today, especially because of Title VII and the platform it provided for the ascension of Equal Employment Opportunity. By legally extirpating racism in the job application process, black people would finally have the opportunity to achieve their American dreams and ascertain the economic opportunity that all Americans are entitled to. Additionally, they could also ascend to higher status occupations, contribute economic value to fuel the success of their country, and overcome the centuries worth of torment and dehumanization they faced as a result of the effrontery the faced for the color of their skin. Ultimately, Equal Employment Opportunity is not only a safety measure of modern workplace propriety but an indelible piece of history that planted the seeds of success for victims of discrimination to cultivate with their tenacity and discipline, until it grew into prodigious trees of economic progress and national pride.


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