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New EEOC Guidelines Expand Employee Protection

Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionOn May 25th the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a new set of guidelines meant to protect those with caregiver responsibilities from employee discrimination. This includes, but is not limited to, employees with children, who care for the elderly, or who have an ill spouse, parent or in-law. These guidelines, of course, are meant to protect both men and women.

What the EEOC intends to protect is the employee’s ability to be available for those who are under his/her care. Some of the discriminatory issues that may arise, and the EEOC intends to prevent, are inflexibility in schedule (including mandatory overtime) and stereotypes that those who are deemed caregivers are less committed to their job and less deserving of promotions, raises and the like.

More specifically, according to Entrepreneur.com’s article on the matter (New Discrimination Guidelines), the new guidelines seek to prevent the following:

• discrimination against women with young children
• gender role stereotyping during the hiring process
• sex-based assumptions about work performance
• stereotyping and discrimination in flexible work arrangements
• denial of promotion based on stereotyping of how mothers should act
• stereotyping based on pregnancy
• refusal to reasonably modify duties to accommodate pregnancy
• refusal to grant men leave to care for a newborn child
• refusal to grant a man a part-time position
• refusal to hire a worker with responsibility for a disabled person because attendance may be affected
• hostile work environments caused by stereotypes of female workers, pregnant women or male caregivers

Be aware that, as an employer, you are required to provide all employees with information regarding discrimination in the workplace, including what is and is not appropriate, and how to file a claim if an employee feels discriminated against. Such information should be provided during the training process and always accessible, whether in an employee handbook or posted someone in your company (such as the breakroom).

And, if an employee does file a claim against you or someone in your company, you must be aware that employers are strictly prohibited from retaliating against that employee in any way (cut in hours, less work, etc.), regardless of the circumstances.

You can find more information about all EEOC guidelines on their website. If you are not familiar with the guidelines, or are just beginning to bring employees into your business, I highly recommend you do a little studying. And it can’t hurt to give yourself a refresher course either.


Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Preventing Sexual Discrimination in the Workplace
What Makes Women Entrepreneurs Different from Men?
Protecting Your Clientele
Preparing for a Health Inspection
How Department Divisions Can Hurt Customer Relations

By Michelle Cramer
Monday, July 31st, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Business Law |