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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is opening an area office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, because of a steady increase in employment discrimination charges. The office is the EEOC’s first outside the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and will serve Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The New York district office previously had oversight of those U.S. territories. “America’s Caribbean region is crying out for the kind of attention and protection that the EEOC can and should provide,” said outgoing Chairwoman Ida L. Castro. Federal and local employment anti-discrimination laws have been enforced in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through their labor departments, but the local agencies have not been able to address concerns such as discrimination, federal employer issues and Americans with Disabilities Act claims, Castro said. The office will be staffed with 14 employees, including investigators, lawyers and mediators to investigate, resolve or litigate discrimination charges.

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