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Cracking the Code on Anti-Discrimination Policies for Your Small Business

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What does your company need to know about the United States Equal Opportunities Commission (EEOC)?

The commission is the federal agency responsible for the police anti-discrimination laws of the country. They investigate allegations of discrimination against small businesses. They are an entity with weapons in every state.

In short, it is a good idea to put in place good policies to avoid conflict with the federal agency. Small Business Trends has been talking to Todd Wulffson, a lawyer specializing in labor law and employment at Carothers DiSante and Freudenberge. He has 25 years of experience in labor law and employment. Wulffson provided some good practices for small businesses to avoid conflicts with the commission.

What You Need to Know About the Anti-Discrimination Act and Your Small Business

The laws in force in the United States make it illegal to discriminate in the workplace an employee or a candidate based on sex, religion, color, race, age , genetic information or disability. Employers can not discriminate against a person who has complaint of discrimination or complaint. It is also illegal to discriminate by participating in a labor discrimination lawsuit or inquiry. "All of this creates a set of laws that you must respect if you have 15 or more employees," says Wulffson.

What you need to understand about the responsibilities of your business

In the end, if you are a small business with 15 or more employees, you may be sued because of a hiring default due to discrimination. Returning someone outside the guidelines suggested by law can also lead you into legal hot water. In fact, taking any sort of negative action against employees before reviewing the law in this case can be low.

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What you should know about the role of the EEOC

This government agency has the power to do one of two things according to Wulffson. "At the end of their investigative process, they can issue what is called a right to sue," he says. This letter gives an individual the right to file a private complaint against your company for violation of the law.

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What You Need to Know About the Worst Case Scenario

In the worst case, the EEOC may sue on behalf of someone. In the end, this agency is the stoppap that dictates whether you will be sued for discrimination. It goes without saying that small businesses will want to know how to prevent this from happening.

What you need to know to protect your small business

Small businesses do not need to be afraid of the long arm of the EEOC. Being prepared by educating management and supervisors is a great first step. "Owners and managers need to understand what the rules are," says Wulffson. The EEOC website has an excellent resources page to start putting the management informed of what they need to know. Click here.

EEOC Best Practices

Have Policies and Procedures

Small businesses must also have in place policies and procedures that they can show to the EEOC if need be. It pays to be rigorous because there are areas that you have to cover, which can be surprising. Wulffson explains.

Include anti-retaliation policies

"You have to make sure that you apply the policies in an anti-retaliation way," says Wulffson. This means that your policies must be clear. Retaliation will not be tolerated against those who have filed unsuccessful applications for discrimination. Small businesses need strong recruitment and hiring procedures to promote the principles of anti-discrimination. Performance evaluations must be carefully monitored to detect discriminatory trends. Transparency is one of the keys to avoiding any problem. For example, promotion criteria must be well known and open jobs must be posted in accessible areas.

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Add Anti-Harassment Policies

All small businesses need a strong anti-harassment policy. The policy must explain in plain language what are prohibited behaviors and examples of supply. The complaint process must be clearly defined. All anti-harassment policies for small businesses must ensure that employee management takes prompt and comprehensive action.

Photo hiring via Shutterstock.

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