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.
Author: Beth P Zoller, JD, Legal Editor
The newly-added "Benchmarking and Surveys" category within the Best Practice Manual Tool now contains a report on the top 10 states friendly to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employment.
This report looks at the top 10 states with the most LGBT protections, the implications of the state LGBT laws in place and the corporate initiatives in these LGBT-friendly states. See California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington.
As evidenced by a recent $50,000 settlement of a transgender discrimination case, the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will not hesitate to pursue employers that discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
As further proof of its campaign to crack down on disability discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a complaint against Kyklos Bearing International (Kyklos), a bearings manufacturer, claiming that it violated the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it terminated an employee because she suffered from cancer.
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.
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.
HR guidance on understanding the powers and responsibilities of the EEOC.