The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and You

If you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably heard of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC. The EEOC is a federal agency set up to fight employment discrimination and enforce the various US laws governing non-discriminatory hiring practices. The EEOC investigates claims of discrimination in the workplace based on:

Additionally, the EEOC will investigate claims of retaliatory acts against employees who have reported a discriminatory practice. The EEOC will file suits against employers on behalf of employees who have been the victims of discrimination. Because of the agency’s power, it is important to make sure you are adhering to the federal discrimination laws.

The EEOC enforces a series of laws passed over the past forty-five years. Because there is no single US law that governs discrimination in the workplace, your company may be affected by some pieces of legislation, but not others.

For the purposes of determining an employee count, all part-time, temporary, and full-time employees are counted. The measuring stick is if you have an employer-employee relationship. Independent contractors, however, are not counted towards your total. If you believe that you may be affected by the EEOC legislation, you should consider discussing your liability and responsibilities as an employer with a qualified attorney.