Many US states and the Federal Government make most kinds of discrimination during the hiring process illegal. There are a variety of different laws that prohibit discrimination for color, race, age, sex, religion, gender identity and sexual orientation. It is the job of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce these laws and make sure that employers understand how the law works. There is also a law that makes firing someone for filing a complaint with the EEOC illegal as well. The laws mostly cover employers with 15 or more employees, however, it has been used successfully with smaller companies as well.
The EEOC Covers More Than Just Hiring
While the hiring process is the main focus of the laws and commission, it also covers discrimination in other work situations such as promotions, harassment, training, wages, benefits, and firing as well. The EEOC will investigate the employers and make an attempt to be fair and balanced in their approach. In most cases, their goal is to settle the charge out of court and get the employee what they’re due. If they can’t come to an agreement they will then bring a lawsuit against the employer to protect the rights of the workers.
There is an outreach program that the EEOC uses to help educate employers on the proper way to handle discrimination in the workplace and avoid problems in the future. In order to bring a case to the commission, the employee must be able to show that the employer intended to discriminate against them by their actions. Sometimes just showing a pattern of previous discrimination is enough to bring the action. Workers have up to 180 days from the occurrence of the discrimination to file.
The Process Begins With An Informal Complaint
At that time the Commission will send in a special counselor that will examine the complaint and point out how the law applies. Then the counselor will make contact with the employer and try to settle the situation for the best result for all involved. If the dispute can’t be solved within 30 days then the complaint will turn into a formal complaint in the EEOC office.
There will be a formal investigation, where documents are reviewed, witnesses are interviewed, and other property evidence is gathered. Then the EEOC will examine everything and offer a solution which could involve changing company policies, payment of back wages, re-hiring a person that has been fired depending on the situation.
If no remedy can be found then the EEOC may take the case to court which could end up being quite expensive for the employer. In most cases it’s far better to solve the problems outside of the court system for all of the parties involved.