In December 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission approved its Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2013 to 2016. The plan identifies focused areas for the Commission to pursue. EEOC promises the SEP will have a “sustainable impact in reducing and deterring discriminatory practices in the workplace.”
While some argue the SEP targets specific industries, employers know that when EEOC enacts a plan, they mean to use it across the board and whenever applicable. Promising aggressive enforcement, EEOC is certainly up for the task: they’ve ramped up enforcement recently, added hundreds of investigators to their ranks, and significantly reduced backlog. Discrimination Prevention Training for your staff to be aware of and in compliance with the law may never be more critical.
The Strategic Enforcement Plan targets what the Commission is calling “national priorities":
"Class-based intentional hiring discrimination and facially neutral hiring practices that adversely impact particular groups." Specifically, recruitment practices, clustering of workers, and use of screening tools to exclude ethnic minorities, older workers, and persons with disabilities.
Targeting “disparate pay, job segregation, harassment, trafficking and discriminatory policies affecting vulnerable workers” who may be unaware of or reluctant to exercise their rights. This could include older workers and the disabled.
"..issues associated with significant events, demographic changes, developing theories, new legislation, judicial decisions and administrative interpretation." This may include sexual stereotyping, the LGBT community, and emerging ADA interpretations.
Targeting “compensation systems and practices that discriminate based on gender.”
Targeting "policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights." This could include retaliatory actions.
“….a targeted outreach campaign to deter harassment in the workplace.” This could include media campaigns.
The EEOC is underscoring with many of its April 2013 press releases it is already working under the plan:
The Strategic Enforcement Plan is ambitious and proactive. Your strategic plan should be proactive as well. Assuring your policies are current is not enough: employers must verify staff is knowledgeable and compliant, and their workplace is free of discrimination and harassment. EEO sanctions routinely include fines and mandatory training. Smart employers don’t wait for the fines – they initiate the training before a problem occurs.
Don’t wait for the EEOC to target you. Create your own proactive strategy to minimize or eliminate unlawful workplace discrimination in your company. Workplace Answers offers Discrimination Training modules that are certified, verifiable, and provide an affirmative defense against accusations and EEO scrutiny.
Watch a Quick Video Demo of our Online Discrimination Training and see how Workplace Answers can help you.
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