On July 3, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai shared with his colleagues a proposal to shift agency staff responsible for enforcing the FCC’s EEO rules from the Media Bureau to the Enforcement Bureau. It came 50 years to day the Commission first concluded that equal opportunity in employment was essential to the public interest.
“By deploying staff tasked with enforcing the Commission’s EEO rules in the Enforcement Bureau, we’ll be able to improve the FCC’s enforcement of those rules and strengthen our commitment to fighting discrimination,” Pai argued.
Less than one month later, the move has been approved by the Commission.
An Order was signed off by the FCC on Tuesday (7/24), in which the Commission concluded that a shift in enforcement to the Enforcement Bureau “will serve the public interest and improve the Commission’s operations.”
The FCC added, “By transferring enforcement of these rules to the Enforcement Bureau, we find that we can better ensure that the communications companies subject to these rules give all qualified individuals an opportunity to apply and be considered as job candidates.”
Until now, the EEO audit and enforcement team — comprised of attorneys and other professionals — has been part of the FCC’s Media Bureau. The team’s work is primarily focused on periodic random audits of broadcast licensee and MVPD EEO programs, along with any necessary enforcement actions arising from those audits. The EEO team also investigates complaints and takes enforcement action based on those investigations when necessary.
The change is a win for civil rights organizations including the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC), NAACP, National Urban League, LULAC and Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which recommended that the Commission take this step so that the Commission’s EEO rules could be enforced more effectively.