EEOC Guidelines Every Employer Needs to Know About

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the government agency in charge of governing individual equal employment rights within the workplace in the United States. They handle complaints from workers who feel they have been discriminated against for any specific reason that falls under the scope of the law. All employers are not covered by this law, with those maintaining fewer than 20 employees who work less than 20 weeks in a two-year period not being required to follow the guidelines. All other employers are covered by the law and are required to meet the standards set forth regarding discrimination based on certain criteria. It is important to understand that the Equal Pay Act and the EEOC guidelines are not the same legislation, as all employers will be impacted by equal pay discrimination claims. The Equal Pay Act can also cover denial for promotions, and problems covered by both pieces of legislation could result in additional legal action when complaints are filed. For the most part, the individual equal rights standards address discrimination associated with:

  • Race and Nationality
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Disability


Human Resources Training

One of the best methods of ensuring the EEOC guidelines are followed is to train all employees that harassment is a central component to many discrimination violations, which is also a problem that has been highlighted socially in the past decade. Mistreatment of targeted employees can be done by other employees and individuals in the work environment in addition to actions by the employer. Having a well-designed and trained human resources department can establish company attention to problems that could result in a discrimination claim if there was no program in practice. It also brings awareness among the employees who are charged with helping maintain a discrimination-free environment at work.

Harassment Prevention

Because all co-workers are included in discrimination protection, it is vital for all employers to have a stated policy regarding what is considered harassment. Company rules should be spelled out in a distinct language that communicates to all employees what is expected for compliance with EEOC regulations. Holding short classes with all employees can matter as well because it helps provide additional documentation that an employer understands the potential problems, along with the fact that employees have been notified regarding proper behavior at work, including sexual harassment issues.

Common High-Value Settlements

One of the major disadvantages of being sued for discrimination, especially for government agencies, is that the case is determined by a preponderance of the material evidence instead the reasonable doubt standard that is applied in criminal situations. Even the fact that the claim was filed can be a determining factor because it presents a scenario of some kind of problem regardless of the actual claim. Other violations could be uncovered as well in testimony. The scrutiny standard for companies is a rational basis evaluation for reasonable action, but government agency cases are often assessed according to intermediate or strict scrutiny standard. Small details can matter, and having reliable, and experienced legal counsel or small business attorney is vital for an equitable settlement with a claimant.


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