Demystifying EEOC Compliance: Essential Insights for Employers
Few topics are more confusing—and more stressful—for small business owners and HR managers than EEOC compliance. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces numerous workplace requirements, and employers must consistently meet all applicable requirements on an ongoing basis in order to mitigate their employment-related risk.
But, while EEOC compliance can seem like an insurmountable undertaking, employers that take a systematic approach can manage their compliance obligations effectively. There are tools and resources available, and employers that use these to implement a custom-tailored EEOC compliance program will be able to move forward with confidence.
5 Essential Insights on EEOC Compliance
So, if you own a small business or manage an HR department, what do you need to know to get started? Here are five essential insights on EEOC compliance:
1. The First Step is to Identify Your Company’s Obligations
Not all companies’ EEOC compliance obligations are the same. Some of the laws that the EEOC enforces only apply to employers with a certain minimum number of employees, while others only apply to employers in certain sectors. As a result, in order to take on EEOC compliance effectively, the first step is to identify your company’s obligations.
2. A Systematic Approach is Key
Once you know which federal laws and regulations apply, the next step is to begin the process of developing the necessary policies and procedures. Here, a systematic approach is key, as it is easy to overlook issues that have the potential to get your company into trouble. The EEOC has published a series of checklists—and, while following these checklists is not sufficient on its own, they can give you an idea of what it takes to manage EEOC compliance effectively:
- Checklist One: Leadership and Accountability
- Checklist Two: An Anti-Harassment Policy
- Checklist Three: A Harassment Reporting System and Investigations
- Checklist Four: Compliance Training
3. EEOC Compliance is Not a Check-the-Box Event
Even when you follow a checklist to develop your company’s EEOC compliance program, EEOC compliance is not a check-the-box event. In other words, you are not done once you put a program in place. Employers must continuously monitor and enforce compliance, and they must respond to their employees’ requests for reasonable accommodations, paid and unpaid leave, and other entitlements appropriately.
4. Employers’ Obligations Are Constantly Changing
Another reason why EEOC compliance is not a one-time event is that employers’ obligations are constantly changing. Long-standing regulations and EEOC guidance become outdated, and the EEOC regularly implements new rules and requirements for employers.
5. Implementing Custom-Tailored Policies and Procedures Will Facilitate Ongoing Compliance
Due to employers’ differing obligations and the unique aspects of their workforces, a custom-tailored approach to EEOC compliance is key as well. Additionally, even a custom-tailored EEOC compliance program will be ineffective if it simply sits on a shelf. But, by implementing custom-tailored policies and procedures in all areas of their operations, employers of all sizes can meet their obligations cost-effectively.
Discuss Your Company’s EEOC Compliance Needs with a Consultant at AR Group
If you have questions about your company’s EEOC compliance obligations, we invite you to get in touch. To schedule an appointment with a consultant at AR Group, please call 720-452-3300 or inquire online today.