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How Does the EEOC Fare in the Discrimination Wars?

The EEOC just passed a milestone, but we're still striving for workplace equality.

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This story appears in the June 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission recently rounded out its 40th year. Just how much progress have employers made in battling discrimination? U.S. companies have come a long way, but they've still got a ways to go. Formal EEOC discrimination complaints dropped almost 5 percent between 2004 and 2005, but a recent Gallup survey concluded 15 percent of all workers have faced discrimination in the workplace; sex bias and race and age discrimination were most common.

Asian workers cited the most discrimination but also tended to file fewer discrimination complaints than other ethnic groups. One factor behind this could be that Asian-Americans tend to live in areas where they're the only minority in many business settings. "Therefore, some may have more reluctance to challenge the majority," says John Fuller, founder of Decisive Solutions, a Fairfax, Virginia, firm that conducts independent EEO investigations and training. In addition, "There are many studies which show that Asian cultures with imbedded Confucian values do not feel comfortable confronting others, no matter how stressful the situation."

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