What does Equal Opportunity Employment really mean?

Equal Opportunity Employment.

In simplest terms, Equal Opportunity Employment (EOE) means a fair opportunity is given to all people in search of work. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee or applicant when it comes to race, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and sexual orientation), color, national origin and religion. It also prohibits discrimination based on the age, disabilities, genetic information, or military or veteran status. There may be additional protected classes at the state level too!

Equal Opportunity Employment  can be costly when you’re not compliant.
EOE practices must be enforced at all times. If an employer is found guilty of violating the anti-discrimination law, then legal, sometimes irreversible, consequences for any inappropriate conduct will be enforced. Companies can lose substantial amounts of money from paying court fees and settlements. In many situations, companies or individual customers may no longer choose to do business or transact with the offending company, impacting the bottom line.

Equal Opportunity Employment  affects the hiring process.
When employers fill a vacant position, there are steps which should be taken to ensure they have complied with the laws set by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission including:

  1. Notify all qualified internal candidates when a position opens within the company by posting the details in a common area.
  2. Submit job advertisements in multiple sources such as newspapers, flyers, job boards and online to notify external applicants and encourage them to apply for the job.
  3. Set a standard and objective selection process to facilitate accurate and unbiased screening results, especially when there are many applicants qualified for the position.

When in doubt, talk to HR.
EOE is one example of the many complex topics covered by employment laws. Make sure your Human Resource department is knowledgeable on all laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace and supports compliance with those laws across your organization. For those businesses which may not find a full time HR department to be an economical option, they may outsource their human resources to a professional employer organization (PEO).

Tandem HR is a PEO in the Chicagoland area that assists hundreds of small and mid-sized businesses with employment law compliance. They also help clients save time and money while growing their business by taking on the administrative tasks associated with human resources, benefits, payroll, tax administration, regulatory compliance and risk management. For more information on Tandem HR or PEOs, visit TandemHR.com or call 630.928.0510.

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