The Threefold EEOC Focus
By January 28, 2013, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported that it had received nearly 99.5 thousand private sector workplace discrimination charges during the 2012 fiscal year. The allegations include, predominately, retaliation, race, and sex discrimination. Due to the high number of charges, the EEOC has been working over the past four years toward cracking down on discrimination in the workplace.
According to the Kiplinger Letter, the EEOC is focused primarily on finding inconsistencies in how employers conduct credit and criminal background checks. The EEOC’s concern is that criminal and credit background checks have an incongruent impact on African-Americans and Hispanics. One suggested way to avoid inconsistent hiring practices is conducting pay audits to reveal any instances of dissimilar pay and document the reason, (i.e., a person’s qualifications) or correct the dissimilar pay.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the EEOC plans to focus its efforts on hiring, pay and harassment in its strategic enforcement plan approved fiscal years 2013 through 2016. The “crackdown” will discourage employers from using “blanket exclusions” of potential candidates that have been convicted of crimes. It will include enforcement of equal pay laws to target gender discrimination and will also target harassment claims.
Employers should be forewarned, the EEOC is working hard to enforce its approved plan. Barry Hartstein, an attorney of Littler Mendelton (Chicago) stated that the EEOC’s plan is a triple play and employers need to not ignore [the plan]. Looking forward, stricter enforcements from the EEOC should be expected against all supposed discriminatory practices.