We’ve heard this question a few times recently, and we thought we should share some background on this important federal agency.
The EEOC stands for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Among other things, it’s responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, age, and disability.
The EEOC has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination against employers. Its job is to investigate and assess the allegations an employee makes in the charge and then make a finding. If discrimination is found to have occurred, the EEOC will try to settle the charge. If it’s not successful, the EEOC has the authority to file a lawsuit to protect the rights of individuals and the public.
The EEOC also seeks to prevent discrimination before it occurs utilizing outreach, education, and technical assistance programs. Additionally, it provides leadership and guidance to federal agencies on the federal government’s equal employment opportunity program. Administrative judges also conduct hearings on complaints and adjudicate appeals.
The EEOC is comprised of five presidentially-appointed members including a Chair, Vice Chair, and three Commissioners. The current Chair, Charlotte Burrows, is responsible for the administration and implementation of the EEOC’s policy, financial management, and organizational development. The Vice Chair, Jocelyn Samuels, and the remaining Commissioners participate equally in the development and approval of Commission policies, issue charges of discrimination, and authorize the filing of suits. The President also appoints a General Counsel to support the Commission. However, the General Counsel and one Commissioner position are currently vacant.
There can be a lot for small businesses to consider so the EEOC has a Small Business Resource Center available on its website. Included are requirements, tips, resources, FAQs, and videos, among other things. Based on the size of your business, not all federal employment anti-discrimination laws may apply. State laws are also important to consider if federal laws don’t apply.
The attorneys at The Coppola Firm are well-versed in employment law at the State and federal level and with EEOC proceedings in particular. If you have any questions about the EEOC and how it affects your business, reach out to us at 716.839.9700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.