Perspectives on Discrimination in the 21st Century Workplace

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Some Americans might consider the issue of workplace discrimination settled. But America isn’t quite ready to close the book on the subject, according to Naomi Churchill Earp, chair of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Earp, Class of 1982 and appointed as chair of the EEOC by President Bush in 2003, delivered the 39th annual Pope John Paul XXIII lecture to the law school community on Sept. 5. Her remarks, “Perspectives on Discrimination in the 21st Century Workplace,” gave an insider’s view of the state of American prejudice in 2007 from the head of the federal agency charged with identifying and prosecuting examples of discrimination in the workplace. The “isms” — racism, sexism and ageism — have gone underground but not gone away, said Earp. “I wouldn’t have thought that we’d still be battling some of the same battles, the same issues, that we fought 40 years ago,” she said.