Don’t Do These 3 Things to Your Workers (If You Want to Avoid EEOC Scrutiny)

For business owners, attracting attention is generally a good thing. Except when it’s from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission…

Kelly Kolb of law firm Fowler White Boggs reports on the issues guaranteed to generate scrutiny from attorneys at the EEOC, as recently outlined by the agency’s top lawyer, P. David Lopez:

1. Improper use of criminal background checks:

“… the EEOC is focusing on the use of criminal background checks in the hiring process, and specifically the alleged disparate impact on minorities of the use of felony conviction screening. The EEOC argues that an employer’s blanket policy not to hire any applicant with a felony conviction disproportionately impacts minorities who are arrested for and convicted of felonies at a greater rate than non-minorities, according to some studies.”

2. Power disparity in the workplace:

“The EEOC will increase its focus on the power disparity between employers and immigrant workers, specifically in the areas of human trafficking and sex harassment. The EEOC’s focus, occasionally in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, is on disparate pay, job segregation, harassment, discriminatory practices, particularly in the agricultural, restaurant (identified by the EEOC as the single largest source of sex harassment complaints) and textile industries.”

3. Gender discrimination:

“As an emerging issue, the EEOC has concluded that Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination ‘because of sex’ prohibits discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans-gendered individuals. Most courts have disagreed, holding that Title VII only prohibits discrimination against LGBT individuals where the employer’s conduct reflects a sexual stereotype – i.e., the LGBT individual was subjected to discrimination because he/she did not meet traditional male/female stereotypes. Nevertheless, the EEOC will accept for processing and may pursue LGBT discrimination claims without regard to whether sex stereotyping is involved.”

In addition to those topics, continues Kolb:

“Mr. Lopez discussed the EEOC’s renewed focus on equal pay for women who perform the same tasks as men but are paid less, as well as retaliation against employees who complain about discrimination and racial harassment.”

The bottom line: the EEOC is watching. Don’t make them pay attention to your employment practices…

Read the update, EEOC General Counsel Offers Enforcement Insights – Fowler White Boggs P.A.>>

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