At issue is delays in the conciliation process for employment discrimination complaints. Women in non-traditional jobs will be particularly harmed by the delays associated with opening conciliation to judicial intervention. Judicial second-guessing of EEOC confidential conciliation deters claims and stymies systemic reform. Congress’ empowerment of the EEOC to pursue claims in its own name and to effect systemic reform without exposing victims is particularly important in non-traditional fields, where retaliation is especially dangerous and female workers are often isolated. Petitioner’s proposals directly subvert the EEOC’s statutorily mandated role in Title VII’s enforcement scheme, exposing women to retaliation and delaying access to justice. Judicial examination of pre-adjudicatory conciliation undermines judicial economy, a crucial stated goal of such conciliation.
Women in blue-collar, non-traditional jobs face employment barriers more perilous than the glass ceiling, most notably severe sexual harassment and the threat that gender discrimination will escalate into workplace violence. Non-traditional industries have both low numbers of female employees and some of the highest rates of gender discrimination. In some male-dominated occupations, women experience levels of discrimination more than three times greater than the national average. Worse still, many non-traditional jobs require collaboration among coworkers to prevent significant safety risks; in these workplaces, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation may have potentially lethal consequences. Women working in these fields need the promise of confidentiality and systemic reform that Title VII specifically directs the EEOC to provide.