According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), discrimination in the workplace claims hit a record high in 2011. In addition, the EEOC achieved the highest ever monetary amounts through administrative enforcement. This information makes it even more imperative that organizations have solid discrimination prevention training plans in place.
Workplace discrimination refers to employees experiencing negative treatment based on their age, race, sex, religion, disability or various other categories protected by federal, state or local laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is an organization that enforces the federal laws that prohibit such discrimination. Once the EEOC receives a valid report of harassment, there will be an investigation and depending on what is found during this investigation, the EEOC may or may not choose to sue the organization for damages.
Discrimination prevention in the workplace is extremely important for many reasons, EEOC enforcement being one of them. If a charge of discrimination is filed against an organization by the EEOC, the EEOC will look for any discrimination prevention efforts that were in place during the time of the alleged harassment. It’s likely the EEOC will look more favorable on an organization that supported discrimination prevention by providing employees with discrimination prevention training, displaying well publicized anti-discrimination policies and communicating clearly to employees what the steps would be if they felt they had been discriminated against.
If an organization could show that all of the above discrimination prevention steps were in place and the leadership of the organization was not aware of the harassment taking place, it would be much more difficult for the EEOC to win a suit against that organization. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t have the above steps in place and become a setting for workplace harassment.
The EEOC is charged with preventing workplace harassment. Organizations that are working diligently in discrimination prevention will fare much better if faced with a charge from the EEOC.
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