The EEOC, What You Need to Know
As an employer, you should be aware of the EEOC and how it can help and/or impact you.
The EEOC, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is a government body that is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against job applicants based on their sex (this is all inclusive, i.e., pregnancy, gender identity, or orientation), religion, race, color, national origin, age (40+), disability or genetic information. Even further, if a job applicant has voiced their concern about discrimination regarding the areas listed above, it is illegal to discriminate against this person based on their belief and accusations against you or your company.
How the EEOC Can Impact You & Your Business
Helpful roles the EEOC plays:
- Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by the EEOC laws, or 20 employees in age discrimination cases.
- Most labor unions/employment agencies are also covered.
- The laws that are sanctioned by the EEOC apply to all types of work situations. This includes hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.
- The EEOC’s authority gives them the right to investigate discrimination charges against employers that are covered by the law.
- The EEOC will try to settle discrimination charges internally, but if this cannot be achieved, a lawsuit may be filed.
The goal of the EEOC is to investigate discrimination when it occurs fairly and accurately.
The EEOC could be contacted for a number of reasons. If your employee feels:
- They are being treated differently at work due to their race, color, sex, origin, or age.
- If they are being harassed by management or another employee.
- If certain requests by the employee are being denied such as time off or payment negotiations based on religious beliefs, political beliefs, or disability.
- Their genetic or medical information was shared without their knowledge or consent.
- If the employee has spoken with management about any of the above listed and received backlash or harassment for feeling discriminated against.
Your employee can seek help from the EEOC for any of these reasons.
There are, however, strict time limits and criteria that must be met before filing a claim with the EEOC. If the incident has not been reported within 180 days of when the event occurred, it may not be considered. In some cases, depending on the incident, the time for report may be extended to 300 days.
Visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission here to learn more about the federal agency and to better understand your rights as employer, and the rights of your employees.