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The EEOC’s Enforcement Priorities: Are You on Its Radar for 2014?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has opened up its proverbial playbook and shared some of its offensive strategies for enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws in the New Year.  Knowing what to expect, the savvy employer can ready the perfect defense: ensure that policies and practices are compliant so as to reduce the likelihood of receiving a notice of a charge of discrimination or, worse, becoming a defendant in a disparate impact litigation case brought by the EEOC.

For 2014, the Commission has identified six priorities as the focus of its national enforcement plan:

1. Eliminating barriers in hiring and recruitment – With continued focus on use of criminal background checks and credit reports in hiring, there will likely be an increase in investigations to determine whether these and other hiring-related procedures have a disparate, discriminatory impact on protected classes.

2. Protecting immigrant, migrant and other vulnerable workers – The EEOC will target disparate pay, job segregation, harassment based on national origin, and trafficking affecting immigrant workers and other vulnerable workers (such as young people, undocumented immigrants, and persons with intellectual disabilities).

3. Addressing developing and emerging employment discrimination issues – The EEOC intends to issue updated guidance to reflect consistency with judicial interpretation of laws, such as supporting coverage of LGBT individuals under Title VII and acknowledging recent case law regarding reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). 

4. Enforcing equal pay laws – The EEOC will continue to target compensation systems and practices that discriminate based on gender.

5. Preserving access to the legal system – The EEOC will continue to challenge policies and practices it believes impede its investigative and enforcement efforts, such as overly broad class waivers, settlement provisions that prohibit filing of EEOC charges, and failure to retain records required by EEOC regulations.

6. Preventing harassment through systematic enforcement and targeted outreach – This priority seeks to deter harassment by implementing a campaign to educate employers and employees about anti-discrimination laws and the Commission’s enforcement efforts. 

Your Elarbee Thompson attorneys have carefully reviewed the EEOC’s national enforcement priorities and can help your company achieve its business goals by ensuring that its employment policies and practices comply with applicable federal, state and local law.  

Please respond to this email or contact your Elarbee Thompson attorney to learn more about our legal consultation services for policy review and audits.

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