Overview: The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that is is responsible for enforcing federal laws regarding employee discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
It handles complaints by employees and applicants based on an individual's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability and genetic information. Similarly, in most states there is a fair employment agency that functions in much the same manner.
Generally, an individual claiming discrimination under federal law may not directly file a lawsuit in court, but rather, the individual must first exhaust his or her administrative remedies and file a charge with the EEOC or an applicable state fair employment agency.
The EEOC investigates employment discrimination claims and also provides mediation services in order to effectuate a settlement. If a settlement is not possible, the EEOC will file a lawsuit in federal court to protect the rights of the individuals involved as well as the public interest in eliminating employment discrimination. The EEOC also provides leadership and guidance on all federal employment discrimination laws.
Trends: In its most recent strategic enforcement plan, the EEOC stated that it will focus on remedying disparate pay and discriminatory language policies especially as applied to immigrant, migrant and vulnerable workers. It will further attempt to eliminate systemic barriers to recruiting and hiring legally protected classes, including barriers in preemployment screening and exclusionary practices. It also emphasized that it will continue to apply sex discrimination provisions to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals as well as provide protection and accommodations to pregnant women and individuals with disabilities under the ADA Amendments Act. The EEOC will also reevaluate strategies to be more effective in preventing and responding to harassment in the workplace and increasing education and outreach efforts to employees and employers.
Beth P Zoller, J.D., Legal Editor
In a development that highlights the importance of promoting fair employment practices, the clothing and accessories retailer Wet Seal has agreed to settle a race discrimination class action lawsuit for $7.5 million.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has reached a settlement in its first lawsuit filed alleging that an employer violated the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has obtained significant jury verdicts for damages totaling $260 million in disability discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits. These verdicts stress the importance for employers to maintain strict zero tolerance policies for discrimination and harassment.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is scheduled to hold a public meeting on Wednesday, May 8, at 9:00 am (EST), to discuss how employee wellness programs should be handled under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws enforced by the EEOC. The employer community has long been waiting for EEOC guidance in this area and this meeting will bring them one step closer.
XpertHR's Retail Resource Center for HR helps retail employers handle their most vexing employment issues by bringing relevant resources together in one place for easy access.
Employers that ignore consent decrees (court-approved settlement agreements) may be held in contempt of court and subject to additional fines, sometimes totaling $1,000 for each day of noncompliance. Recent contempt orders by federal courts in cases filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) serve as a warning to employers that fail to comply with their obligations under consent decrees.
XpertHR has updated the Litigation section of the Investigations and Litigation chapter to reflect two recent federal court rulings pertaining to employer obligations in discrimination cases brought by the EEOC and litigation tactics when employers are accused of fostering hostile work environments.
XpertHR's High-Tech Resource Center for HR: Discrimination and Harassment helps high-tech employers handle their most challenging employment issues by bringing relevant resources together in one place for easy access.
Statistics, combined with recent EEOC settlements and courtroom victories, show that employers may be forced to spend tremendous amounts of money defending or settling retaliation claims unless they prevent retaliation in the workplace.
HR guidance on understanding the powers and responsibilities of the EEOC.
Sorry, this feature is not yet available on the preview site