As an employer, you are responsible for understanding the anti-discrimination laws that apply to your company so that you can protect your employees from unfair treatment and harassment on the job. In addition, you may be required to keep records, comply with poster requirements, and respond to charges of unlawful treatment. Taking steps to prevent discrimination may not only be required by law, but it may also avoid costly litigation in the future.
If you're unsure about which federal laws against discrimination apply to your business and whether you're in compliance with those laws, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can help!
What You Need to Know
Visit www.eeoc.gov to find a number of resources from the EEOC aimed specifically at laws against discrimination for employers, including:
- The laws it enforces—including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA);
- Who is subject to these laws—not every employer is required to comply with every law enforced by the EEOC (keep in mind, however, that similar state laws may apply); and
- Prohibited employer practices—in hiring, promotions, discipline and more.
- EEOC regulations generally require employers to keep all personnel or employment records for one year. If an employee is involuntarily terminated, his or her personnel records must be retained for one year from the date of termination.
- The law requires an employer to post notices describing the federal laws prohibiting job discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, equal pay, disability and genetic information.
- Private employers with over 100 employees are required to provide certain workforce data to the EEOC, even if no charge has been filed against the company.
- When an employee files a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, employers have certain obligations in connection with the EEOC’s investigation of the charge and may also have additional recordkeeping obligations.
Straight from the Source: Assistance and Training Directly from the EEOC
- Do you have questions about whether a particular employment practice is discriminatory? You can contact an EEOC small business liaison for information about the laws enforced by the EEOC and compliance with those laws in specific workplace situations.
- Are you planning a conference or seminar? The EEOC offers free outreach programs on a limited basis to employer groups, professional associations, students, non-profit entities, community organizations and other members of the general public. An EEOC representative may be available to provide a general overview of the laws it enforces and EEOC charge processing procedures, including mediation.
- Are you interested in more in-depth training? For a fee, the EEOC Training Institute offers a wide variety of training programs to help employers understand, prevent and correct discrimination in the workplace.
For More Information
The EEOC provides a host of free downloadable publications, fact sheets and other guidance materials on its website. You can also check out our section on Discrimination for important information about federal anti-discrimination laws. And don't miss our free tool for employers, the Personnel Recordkeeping Guide, for an overview of key recordkeeping requirements under federal law, including records related to equal opportunity in employment.
Image Credit: Brian Turner