75% of employers lose in EEOC cases; how to stay in the 25%

Tightened budgets and the government sequestration didn’t stop the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from charging forward against discriminatory companies this year. Workers are increasingly aware of their rights, so don’t get on the EEOC’s bad side in the year to come

Employers were well and truly under the thumb of the EEOC in 2013, as demonstrated by its fiscal year 2013 results.
  • $372 million in monetary relief was awarded to victims of private-sector workplace discrimination, the highest on record
  • It took 267 days for the average case to be resolved, a decrease of 21 days on 2012
  • 3 in 4 cases resulted in the complainant being awarded monetary or non-monetary benefits
Workers are filing more complaints as they understand their rights – 86% of US companies reported receiving at least one lawsuit in the past year, according to the Fulbright Litigation Trends Report, which also shows that employment litigation holds equal first place with contract litigation in the most common types of legal disputes.

“The EEOC has been perfectly clear in pursuing an extreme anti-discrimination policy the past few years, backing up its regulatory rhetoric with legal actions,” Proforma Screening Solutions CEO David Lowers said. “State and employer push-back may eventually reduce this threat, but in the meantime employers need to be proactive.”

But what does it mean to be proactive in the uncertain world of compliance? Without outsourcing, here are four ways you can stay on the EEOC’s good side:

Developing clear policies If your company has a clear policy that an employed manager violates, then the company is less likely to be held responsible. Without a definitive equal employment opportunity policy, however, the EEOC has no way to determine the intentions of your company

Consistency in enacting company policies Inconsistency in applying company policy between certain employees and candidates is usually where companies get tripped up. For example, a policy imposing “neat” or “well-groomed” hair must respect natural differences and not be applied more strictly to ethnic employees

In recruitment, document decisions when eliminating candidates Even before hiring a candidate, employers are vulnerable to accusations of discrimination. If you can clearly prove that you hired a young, white, straight male over the minority candidate purely based on the candidates’ suitability to the position, and you documented that decision process, then you are more likely to be safe from the EEOC

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