The EEOC has made its intentions known regarding Title VII and its plan to enforce it in the year 2013. Employers should be aware of the EEOC’s intentions with respect to Title VII and ensure that their recruiting, hiring, pay structures, ADA policies, ADEA and harassment policies are in place and compliant with the terms of Title VII.
The EEOC’s intense focus on Title VII comes after an active systemic docket was put into place in each of its districts resulting in 240 systemic investigations being completed in the fiscal year of 2012. The investigations addressed a wide range of alleged discrimination from hiring and promotion issues against women and African-Americans, age discrimination, and discrimination against pregnant women, just to name a few. As a result of completing these 240 investigations, the EEOC put a clear plan in place to ensure employers comply with the terms of Title VII.
The priorities of the EEOC under Title VII specifically will be:
- Eliminating exclusionary policies of employers. In this regard, employers should ensure that both their recruiting and hiring practices are open to all individuals qualified for a particular job.
- Ensuring that immigrant, migrant and other potentially at risk groups is protected. This will mean the EEOC is taking a close look at differences in a pay structure for example between an immigrant employee versus a non-immigrant employee.
- Making sure the legal system is easily accessible and available to individuals. This will safeguard against an employee being concerned that if a cause of action is filed against an employer, it will have negative ramifications on the employee or his/her career.
- Guaranteeing that equal pay laws are enforced. The EEOC will accomplish this via its direct investigations, of which 240 were completed in the fiscal year of 2012 alone.
- Reviewing and analyzing several issues relating to the ADA, accommodations under the ADA, protection for pregnant women and protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender individuals under Title VII.
Going forward, employers should make sure all of their policies in relation to the above-referenced topics are in compliance with the terms of Title VII. Failure to comply with the terns of Title VII could result in being investigated by the EEOC and having to pay monetary benefits to wronged employees.