What is the EEOC?
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that protects the rights of those who have experienced discrimination. It enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against an employee or job applicant over race, nationality, age, religion, sex (including pregnancy), or disability.
The EEOC is also in charge of protecting those who have been discriminated against after complaining about another’s discrimination or who have filed a lawsuit against an employer or employee over discrimination. Retaliation is not allowed and the EEOC ensures the rights of employees are upheld.
Does the EEOC Affect You?
Most employers who have a minimum of 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). In addition, the majority of labor unions and employment agencies are also covered by EEOC laws.
These laws apply to any and all workplace situations, including promotions, terminations, harassment, wages, and benefits.
Role in Sexual Harassment
The EEOC is authorized to investigate charges of discrimination against employers who are covered by their laws. Given that sexual harassment is a form of discrimination, the EEOC defends the rights of any individual who has experienced unwanted or unwelcome sexual conduct.
If the EEOC discovers that sexual harassment has occurred, they try to settle the incident. If matters are not taken care of, they can file a lawsuit to protect the victim’s rights.
The agency also works to prevent discrimination and sexual harassment through a series of outreach and educational programs.