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EEO Laws

Top 6 EEOC Targets Employers Need to Know


By Adam Langley May 30, 2013

courthouseIn 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.

6 EEOC "National Priorities" Employers Need to Know

The Strategic Enforcement Plan targets what the Commission is calling “national priorities":

1. Eliminating Barriers in Recruitment and Hiring

"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.

2. Protecting Immigrant, Migrant and Other Vulnerable Workers

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.

3. Addressing Emerging and Developing Issues

"..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.

4. Enforcing Equal Pay Laws

Targeting “compensation systems and practices that discriminate based on gender.”

5. Preserving Access to the Legal System

Targeting "policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights."  This could include retaliatory actions.

6. Preventing Harassment Through Systemic Enforcement and Targeted Outreach

 “….a targeted outreach campaign to deter harassment in the workplace.” This could include media campaigns.

Enforcement Already in Action

The EEOC is underscoring with many of its April 2013 press releases it is already working under the plan:

  • $70,000 – to settle a retaliation and pregnancy and disability discrimination suit. The company is required to hire an EEO Coordinator, provide annual EEO training to management and H/R, and provide staff training.
  • $40,000 – for terminating an employee perceived as having a disability following an illness. The company agrees to ADA training.

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.

Discrimination Training: Key to Protecting Your Organization

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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