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What You Need to Know About EEO Posters

Equal Employment Opportunity (or EEO) laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees or people who apply for jobs in the United States. Because of these laws, people who are members of certain protected classes must receive fair treatment throughout all phases of the employment process, including recruitment, employment, and termination. This law also states that people cannot be discriminated against when requesting equal pay for equal work.

 

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How EEO affects your business

Federal EEO laws are designed to prevent the unlawful mistreatment of protected classes of people, thereby giving employees and applicants an official process through which they can file grievances, should they feel they have been victims of discrimination.

According to federal EEO laws, the following are considered unlawful acts:

– Unfair treatment of protected classes;
– Harassment or bullying in the workplace, either by management, co-workers, or others;
– Denial of reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities;
– Denial of reasonable accommodation for persons who request such accommodation because of religious beliefs;
– Retaliation against an employee who either complained about discrimination or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Federal law protects the following classes of people from being unlawfully discriminated against as a result of EEO:

– Race
– Color
– Religion
– Sex (inclusive of pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation)
– National origin
– Age (40 years of age or older)
– Disabilities
– Genetic information

What the Federal EEO poster contains

The EEOC’s Equal Opportunity is the Law poster defines the classes that are protected from discrimination as well as the various governing pieces of legislation, which provide this protection. Protected classes cannot be denied employment, raises, promotions, proper discharge, pay, training, benefits, referrals, or any other aspect of employment based on their classification alone.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Responsible for protecting employees and applicants from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Under this act, employers must also provide reasonable accommodation in connection with employees’ religious beliefs and practices.

 

The Age Discrimination Act of 1967

Prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees who are 40 years of age and older.

 

Title II of the Genetic Nondiscrimination Act of 2008

Disallows discrimination on the basis of genetic information. GINA also strictly limits employers’ acquisition and disclosure of genetic information, including items such as genetic tests, family medical histories, and requests for genetic services by applicants, employees, and their family members.

Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Bars employers from discriminating against employees or applicants on the basis of disabilities. These acts also require employers to provide otherwise qualified employees or applicants with reasonable accommodation to facilitate the successful performance of their job functions.

 

The Equal Pay Act of 1963, in conjunction with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Requires equal pay for equal work, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender alone. Under this act, women are required to earn the same wages as men, provided the skill sets, job functions, work environments, effort, and responsibility are the same or reasonably similar.

What are my EEO posting requirements?

According to the EEOC, any organization that is covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) is required to post the EEO is the Law notice in conspicuous places where employees can easily gain access to it. Employers may also be required to send electronic mailers to employees, particularly if there are staff members who telecommute and may not regularly have access to physical inner-office postings. Generally speaking, however, electronic notifications are not acceptable replacements for hard copy posters.

Organizations covered by the aforementioned legislation include the following:
– Private employers
– State and local governments
– Educational institutions
– Employment agencies
– Labor organizations
– Joint labor-management committees

Employer accountability under EEO

EEO laws generally hold the employer responsible when discrimination or harassment occur in the workplace, regardless of the capacity in which the discriminating party is employed. This designation of accountability is known as vicarious liability. During an EEO investigation, an employer will be asked to provide sufficient evidence to show that it took all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination from occurring. In cases where the EEOC does determine the company had all appropriate measures in place, vicarious liability will usually be removed, and the employer will not be held responsible.

What happens if I don’t meet EEO posting requirements?

Effective July 5, 2016, the maximum fine per posting violation is $525. Fines have increased substantially in recent years as a result of continual improvements in the economic condition of the United States. Increases in EEOC posting penalty amounts are governed by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Act of 1990, which requires fines to be adjusted based on fluctuations in the Consumer Price Index (CPI.)

On April 17, 2014, the maximum fine was $110 per posting violation. The following day, the government increased this fee by 91%, which resulted in a maximum fine of $210. As these fines are based on CPI, employers may continue to see increases and stiff penalties going forward.

Defining discrimination

Discrimination can occur in two ways: direct or indirect. Direct discrimination happens when an employee or applicant is treated less favorably than others when all other circumstances are the same or reasonably similar. Generally speaking, discrimination does not need to be the sole reason for the less favorable treatment of the employee, nor does it have to be the dominant reason; it simply has to be a contributing factor.

Indirect discrimination occurs when a policy appears to be uniform for all employees and applicants; however, the policy is not, in fact, neutral, causing a disproportionate impact on certain groups. As an example, the language of a requirement that unlawfully indirectly discriminates may provide a negative impact on people of a certain age or sex, even if it appears to be an all-encompassing rule on the surface.

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