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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 23, 1990.
Fair Employment Reform and Consolidation Act of 1990 - Replaces provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 establishing the Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinating Council with provisions declaring that it is the intent of the Congress to supersede provisions of Federal law which prohibit or provide a remedy for employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability that are contained in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, section 1981 of the Revised Statutes, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the Portal-to-Portal Act, and the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Sets forth the relationship between the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Adds the categories of age and disability to the listing of prohibited bases of discrimination through specified portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Declares that it is not an unlawful employment practice: (1) to take actions which otherwise would be unlawful employment practices where age is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business, or where the differentiation is based on reasonable factors other than age; (2) to observe the terms of a bona fide seniority system or employee benefit plan, subject to conditions and exceptions; and (3) to discipline an individual for good cause. Requires any employer to provide group health plan coverage to any employee aged 65 or over, and any employee's spouse aged 65 or over, under the same conditions as any employee or spouse under age 65. Allows employment actions on the basis of age in certain circumstances with regard to: (1) executives or high-policy-making employees; and (2) firefighters and law enforcement officers. Sets forth actions which may and may not be taken on the basis of age with regard to employee pension plans. Allows compulsory retirement of an employee 70 years old with unlimited tenure at an institution of higher education. Prohibits wage rate discrimination on the basis of sex, subject to exceptions. Prohibits an employer who is paying a wage rate differential in violation of this requirement from reducing the wage rate of any employee in order to comply with these requirements. Prohibits any employer, employment agency, labor organization, or joint labor management committee (covered entity) from discriminating on the basis of disability. Lists discriminatory actions. Allows a religious entity to give preference to individuals of a particular religion and to require conformity to the religious tenets of the organization. Allows an employer to refuse to assign any employee with an infectious or communicable disease of public health significance to a job involving food handling, subject to conditions. Excludes current users of illegal drugs from the definition of the term "qualified individual with a disability." Allows a covered entity to take certain actions with regard to the use of alcohol or illegal drugs. Declares that a test for the use of illegal drugs shall not be considered a medical examination. Requires that charges filed under specified provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or with a State agency under an approved State plan alleging discrimination on the basis of disability to be handled in accordance with provisions of this Act. Ends the requirement that, in determining whether reasonable cause exists, the EEOC accord substantial weight to findings and orders by State and local authorities. Prohibits filing Federal charges if a proceeding has been commenced with a State agency under an approved State plan or if the same situation has been submitted to an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. (Current law prohibits filing Federal charges until 60 days after filing State or local charges.) Requires the EEOC, when a Federal charge is filed by any aggrieved person, to notify the appropriate State official, who is then required to notify the EEOC of any State proceedings already commenced. Prohibits State proceedings not commenced before the Federal charge. (Current law requires the EEOC, when a charge is filed by an EEOC member, to allow State or local officials at least 60 days to act under State or local law before taking Federal action.) Declares that, except as otherwise provided, the provisions of title VII (Equal Employment Opportunities) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 supersede any State and local laws on employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin. Requires any State which desires to assume responsibility for enforcement of the unlawful employment practices provisions of the Act to submit a State plan for the enforcement. Requires the EEOC to approve the plan if it meets certain requirements. Requires the EEOC, after approving a State plan, to continue to enforce the unlawful employment practices provisions. Modifies the role of the General Counsel of the EEOC to require that the General Counsel: (1) exercise general supervision over all EEOC attorneys (other than administrative law judges and legal assistants to EEOC members) and over the officers and employees in regional offices; and (2) have final authority, on behalf of the EEOC, regarding investigation of charges, conciliation of disputes, and issuance and prosecution of complaints, and responsibility for the conduct of litigation. Ends the power of the EEOC to intervene in certain civil actions. Prohibits the review of any administrative law judge's report, before or after publication, by any person other than a member of the EEOC or the member's legal assistant. Prohibits an administrative law judge from advising or consulting with the EEOC with respect to exceptions taken to the judge's findings, rulings, or recommendations. Removes provisions allowing the EEOC or persons other than the aggrieved person to file charges. Replaces provisions allowing the EEOC to bring a civil action with provisions empowering the EEOC to issue a complaint to be heard before an administrative law judge. Requires the EEOC, when the respondent is a government, governmental agency, or political subdivision, and when no conciliation agreement is reached, to refer the case to the Attorney General, who may bring a civil action. Bars an aggrieved person whose charge has been dismissed by the EEOC (or upon which the Attorney General has not filed a civil action) from maintaining a proceeding on the same situation in a different Federal or State forum. Provides for temporary or preliminary relief. Requires, in order to issue a cease and desist order or order relief, that a charge be proven upon the preponderance of the evidence. Removes provisions relating to suits by the Attorney General. Mandates that the EEOC, in using informal methods of conference, conciliation, and persuasion, require both the charging party and the respondent to submit a statement describing his or her position. Prohibits joining a charge which was not timely filed with timely charges. Allows the General Counsel to combine two or more timely charges involving the same situation. Requires (current law allows) the court, in any action or proceeding under the Equal Employment Opportunities title of the Act, to allow the prevailing party (other than the EEOC or the United States) attorney's fees. Provides for certain penalties for improper disclosure of information relating to informal resolution attempts or information received from or sent to State or local agencies. Allows persons aggrieved by the disclosure the remedies available under the Privacy Protection Act of 1980. Applies the rights, protections, and remedies under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with respect to any employee in an employment position in the House of Representatives, any employing authority of the House of Representatives, and the Office of the Architect of the Capitol.