EEOC releases upcoming 4-year strategic plan to tackle today’s employment discrimination practices

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal law enforcement agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. Specifically, the agency enforces laws that protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, and various other factors.

Recently, the EEOC released a draft of its strategic enforcement plan for fiscal years 2012-2016. The plan outlines a framework of the agency's top priorities to combat and remedy unlawful employment discrimination in today's workplace environment.

Mitigating recruitment barriers

According to the EEOC, "Racial and ethnic minorities, older workers, women, and people with disabilities continue to confront discriminatory policies and practices at the recruitment and hiring stages."

The agency claims that current discriminatory policies against these groups are taking place. Specifically, the agency says that individuals are found channeled into specific jobs because they belong to a certain group, and some employers are utilizing applicant screening tools that negatively impact certain groups of people.

Via the new plan, the EEOC hopes to target hiring practices and mitigate recruitment barriers that adversely impact these groups.

Tackling emerging issues

Workplace environments change from year to year and the EEOC, through the new plan, hopes to take these issues head-on.

Determining who is covered under the expanded definition of "disability" under the ADAAA is one such example.

They also plan to address discrimination against pregnant women forced to take unpaid leave due to an employer's failure to provide accommodations afforded to similarly situated individuals. Further, the agency will tackle issues of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees within the meaning of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, also known as Title VII.

Addressing barriers to legal rights under the law

Additionally, the strategic plan will also address employment barriers that make it difficult for employees to exercise their employment law rights. Overly broad employment waivers, settlement provisions limiting an employee's ability to seek the help of the EEOC are a couple of examples the agency plans to tackle.

The EEOC hopes the new plan will continue in the non-stop efforts to maintain anti-discrimination practices in work environments all across the country.

Individuals are encouraged to visit the EEOC for more in-depth information on the specifics of the plan.

Employees are also encouraged to seek the advice of an experienced employment law attorney if they feel they have been discriminated against in the workplace. A lawyer can speak with individuals about their specific circumstances and advise them on the rights and remedies available under the law.