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A Message from EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows on Hispanic Heritage Month 2023

WASHINGTON – Each year, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, to recognize and honor the meaningful contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to America's cultural tapestry and workplace.

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the contributions of Americans tracing their roots to Mexico, Spain, Central America, South America, and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean. The Hispanic population of the U.S. is 63.7 million, or 19.1% of the population, making it the largest racial or ethnic minority in the nation.

Hispanic Heritage Month is also a time for reflection on the many challenges and disparities that Hispanic and Latino communities face. It provides a valuable opportunity to address these issues, while promoting a sense of unity and solidarity among all peoples. With this year’s theme, “Todos Somos, Somos Uno: We Are All, We Are One,” we are reminded that the EEOC’s mission of advancing employment opportunity for all is only possible because of our staff, partners, and stakeholders who make it a priority to conduct outreach to particularly vulnerable communities, including farmworkers, domestic laborers, restaurant workers, and workers who are undocumented or whose first language isn’t English.

Hispanic and Latino workers make up about 18.5% of the labor force in the U.S. but are underrepresented in higher paid trades and management positions. An example of this is in the construction industry, where these workers comprised more than a third of the workforce but were concentrated in the lowest paid positions. A majority of laborers (50.7%) and nearly half of helpers (48.4%)—the two lowest paying jobs in construction—were Hispanic or Latino.

The EEOC will continue its tireless work to uphold its vision of fair and inclusive workplaces with equal opportunity for all through outreach to Hispanic and Latino communities. That work includes filing cases in federal court to vindicate the rights of workers who face employment discrimination because they are Latino, such as EEOC v. Focus Plumbing, in which the EEOC’s investigation found that male supervisors and coworkers at a Nevada-based general construction company had sexually harassed monolingual Spanish-speaking women workers at various construction sites around Las Vegas. The EEOC secured a $500,000 settlement for the women in that case.  Other notable lawsuits from the past year include EEOC v. Taos Hotel, where EEOC found that the hotel had enforced a discriminatory no-Spanish policy and a name-changing policy that made employees with ethnic-sounding names use an anglicized name instead; and EEOC v. Alden Short,  in which top management officials subjected three Hispanic female employees to a hostile work environment, including making national-origin-related comments to the employees linked to their heritage, their parents, and children.

The EEOC’s work on behalf of Hispanic and Latino persons also includes outreach. The agency will continue to make Spanish-language outreach efforts a priority as we have with our Spanish-language resources for the new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and our Youth@Work trafficking resource for young workers. To help ensure broad awareness of the PWFA among Hispanic workers, agency staff conducted radio media tours with nationally syndicated radio stations, reaching about 3.5 million individuals listening to Spanish-language stations or segments. To further improve accessibility for Spanish-speakers, agency emails related to inquiries and charges contain both English and Spanish text.

Throughout the year and especially during Hispanic Heritage Month, the EEOC celebrates the diverse voices and numerous contributions of Hispanic and Latino people. We are committed to ensuring equal employment opportunity for all by promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in America’s workplaces, so that every worker has an opportunity to contribute to a strong economy and an even stronger nation.

Charlotte A. Burrows (she/her/hers)
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


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