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Would Your Workplace Practices Hold Up in an EEOC Investigation?

Published on 1/12/2016 12:00:00 AM
Would Your Workplace Practices Hold Up in an EEOC Investigation

Are you aware of the latest statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – and what they mean for employers?

The EEOC received 89,385 charges of discrimination in FY 2015 – a slight increase from the 88,778 charges in FY 2014. It resolved 155 lawsuits, recovering a total of $65.3 million. Of that amount, $56.9 million came from Title VII claims.

With many experts predicting these numbers will continue to increase in the coming year, now is the time to review your compliance practices. First and foremost:

Proper postings act as first line of defense with EEOC discrimination cases

Due to the rise in discrimination charges and stepped-up enforcement by the EEOC, you need to be certain your workplace policies meet all EEOC laws. This includes verifying that your Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law posting is fully compliant. If a complaint is filed, the EEOC will conduct a workplace investigation and check for the latest Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law posting. In several EEOC discrimination cases, charges were either dropped or decisions made in favor of the employer, simply because this required posting was displayed.

To further protect your business, you should:

Communicate your anti-discrimination policy and procedures

Your anti-discrimination policy lays the foundation for what is acceptable in the workplace, stating that your organization is committed to ensuring equal opportunity for all people, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Spread this essential message throughout your organization via your employee handbook, postings, job applications and other employee-facing communications. Make sure all employees receive a copy of your anti-discrimination policy and sign a notice indicating they’ve received and reviewed the policy.

Train managers to identify and prevent discrimination

Regular training should cover equal employment opportunity laws, your anti-discrimination policy and diversity. Employees and managers need to understand their roles in creating an atmosphere of inclusiveness and respect for differences. This awareness is especially important when hiring, promoting or disciplining employees.

Handle complaints promptly and decisively

To maintain a workplace free of discrimination, management must support those who raise complaints, as well as those responsible for investigating and resolving them. Be certain your employees have multiple ways to report discrimination (in case a supervisor is the cause of the problem, for example).

Document everything
Detailed and proper documentation is absolutely essential in discrimination claims. Conduct evaluations fairly and honestly, and maintain copies of all performance reviews. Managers should also document disciplinary incidents and warnings, including the expectations for improvements and the consequences for continued poor performance. This information can help protect your company from a wrongful termination lawsuit should you choose to fire an employee.
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