The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has released a draft of its strategic plan. Amid the jumble of government-ese are at least three clear warning signs to employers about the effects on the workplace.
Let’s parse some of the sections and explain their practical effects:
- Item: a focus on “systemic discrimination cases”
What it means to you: The EEOC will be looking at alleged violations that run across the industry, company and geographic levels. For instance, you may be in an industry that uses a common working title – “engineer,” for example. EEOC will be looking to see that the title is fairly applied to employees, and not just used to keep from paying employees overtime for work done in excess of 40 hours weekly.
What you can do: Stay in touch with your counterparts, possible through industry conferences and meetings, to see how they’re handling tricky employment situations. If there’s a difference between you and another employer in the industry, you may want to find out why.
- Item: Creation of an “integrated, holistic approach to enforcement from beginning to end, without separating the investigation and conciliation state of the EEOC’s work from its litigation stage.”
What it means to you: The agency will probably focus on more paperwork-gathering at an early stage of an investigation of a complaint.
What you can do: Make sure your documentation – for hiring, firing, promotions, punishments – is in order. Periodic self-audits of paperwork wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.
- Item: A focus on “targeted, equitable relief.”
What it means to you: The term is generally interpreted to mean going beyond simply giving relief and compensation to the complaining individuals. That means after a violation is uncovered, the agency probably will demand that supervisors receive training to make sure there are no repeat violations.
What you can do: Preempt EEOC by making sure your supervisors are up to date on training to prevent discrimination, harassment and other targeted behaviors.