Federal and Tribal Governments Collaborating to Support Employment Rights

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In partnership with Tribal Employment Rights Offices (TEROs), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has launched an informational website with the end goal of protecting the employment rights of Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

Employment Regulations on Tribal Lands

Tribal governments have independent authority to regulate business and commerce on their lands. Since they are self-governing, sovereign nations, tribes have the right to require that employers give preference to Native American or Alaskan Native job candidates.

These and other employment laws are not widely known – even by Native Americans and Alaskan Natives to whom they apply. The joint website provides easy-to-access information so they know, understand, and can exercise their employment rights.

Partnership Between Federal and Tribal Governments

The website also details agreements between TEROs and the EEOC to assist with discrimination, harassment, or other employment issues. For example, TEROs have a Memorandum of Understanding stating that Tribes have the right to identify and refer claims to the EEOC for remediation. The EEOC then provides funds for training, accessibility initiatives, outreach, and other programmatic needs.

Tribal Consultations and Collaboration

President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships on January 26, 2021. This memo requires that the Federal government consult with tribal governments before developing and implementing Federal policies that have implications for tribes. In this way, the EEOC upholds their commitment to respectfully engage with tribes, recognize their sovereignty, honor treaties and rights, and follow the Federal Government's Tribal trust responsibilities.

To enact the presidential memorandum, the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor met with tribal governments to work out each agency's Tribal Consultation process. After getting feedback from Tribes, the EEOC developed a Plan of Action for Tribal matters, and also created a Tribal Consultation Process to guide future collaborations.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility

It’s the EEOC’s job to protect vulnerable workers and underserved communities. This work is guided by the Executive Orders on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities.

The EEOC also ensures that Federal workforce Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility initiatives provide equal employment opportunities for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

EEOC Tribal Programs Webpage
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