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What Everyone Needs to Know About the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Tags:  Job stress, Discrimination, EEOC

How many people can raise their hand and say they know off the top of their head what the initials EEOC stand for? If you work in human resources or management, you probably do. However, outside of that, you may not realize that EEOC is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or what this governmental group is responsible for.


To sum it up briefly, the United States EEOC is responsible for the oversight and coordination of all federal equal employment opportunity regulations, practices and policies specifically as they relate to the following laws:


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (commonly referred to as Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;

Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects everyone who performs substantially equal work in the same establishment from wage discrimination based on gender;

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from discrimination;

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments;

Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government; and

Civil Rights Act of 1991, which, among other things, provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination.


Did you even know you had that many protections under just one arm of the government? Well, you do. And they specifically protect you from discrimination in any aspect of employment including, but not limited to:

Leaves of absence

If for any reason you feel you have personally encountered discrimination in any area of employment based on any protected characteristic, you have a right to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.


You can do that by contacting the EEOC office nearest you (http://www.eeoc.gov/contact.html) and by completing an intake questionnaire, which can then be mailed or submitted in person.


You will need to include your name, address and telephone number along with the name, address and telephone number of the employer that allegedly discriminated. You will need to provide a short description of the complaint or alleged violation and the date(s) it took place.


Except for the EPA, all laws enforced by the EEOC require that you file a charge with them first before filing a private lawsuit. And it must be filed within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation. To protect your legal rights, it is always best to contact the EEOC promptly when discrimination is suspected.


Keep in mind that many states also have their own anti-discrimination laws and protection. You may want to find out if there is a state Fair Employment Practice Agency (FEPA) you should contact.

For more information on the EEOC, go to their website at http://www.eeoc.gov .

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