Author: Lisa Pierson Weinberger, Mom, Esq.
When to Use
Federal, state and local laws require employers to provide equal employment opportunities and prohibit discriminatory conduct by employers that is based upon, or motivated by, an employee's membership in a protected class. Under federal law, employers can be liable for discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or certain classifications based on genetic information. State or local laws may protect additional classes of employees or apply to broader range of employers than federal law. As a result, employers have an obligation to ensure that all applicants and employees are granted equal opportunity within their organization.
Every employer should have an EEO policy in place that is provided and communicated to all employees, as well as internal EEO procedures that are followed by HR and management when making personnel-related decisions. Such policies and procedures, if enforced, will help to prevent unlawful discrimination, will aid in the defense of any lawsuits or administrative charges based upon the violation of EEO laws, and will be useful as evidence in any investigation or disciplinary proceeding.