Equal employment opportunity
Equal employment opportunity (EEO) is the concept that all individuals should have equal treatment in all employment-related actions. Several basic EEO concepts have been applied as a result of court decisions, laws, and regulatory actions. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the first federal law designed to protect most U. S. employees from employment discrimination based upon the employee’s (or applicant’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Public Law 88-352, July 2, 1964, 78 Stat. 253, 42 U. S. C. Sec. 2000e et. Seq. ).  The title also established the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to assist in the protection of U. S. employees from discrimination. Equal employment opportunity was further enhanced when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Executive Order 11246 on September 24, 1965, created to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, sex, creed, religion, color, or national origin.
Along with these five protected classes, more recent statutes have listed other traits as “protected classes,” including the following: The Age Discrimination Act of 1967, prohibits discrimination against persons over age 40 and restricts mandatory retirement requirement, except where age is a bona fide occupational qualification; The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires employers accommodations for individuals with disabilities or are thought to possess, a wide range of disabilities, ranging from paraplegia, Down Syndrome to autism.
However, it does not force an employer to employ a worker whose disability would create an “undue hardship” onto his business (e. g. a paraplegic cannot work on a construction site, and a blind person cannot be a chauffeur). ; Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 prohibits age-based discrimination in early retirement and other benefits plans. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires equal pay for men and women performing substantially the same work.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, 1990 and 1996 establishes penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens; prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of national origin or citizenship. The Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 extends EEO and Civil Rights Act provisions to U. S. congressional staff. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prohibits discrimination against women ffected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; requires that they be treated as all other employees for employment-related purposes, including benefits. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 forbids discrimination of the basis of family history and genetic information ; the Vietnam-Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 forbids discrimination on the grounds of a worker’s military history, including any effects that the battlefield might have had on the worker’s psyche.
Changing laws during the last 30 years have forced employers to address additional areas of potential discrimination. Executive Orders 11246, 11375 of 1965 and 1967 requires federal contractors and subcontractor to eliminate employment discrimination and prior discrimination through affirmative action and Executive Order 11478of 1969 prohibits discrimination in the U. S. Postal Service and in the various government agencies on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or age.
The executive order also required contractors to implement affirmative action plans to increase the participation of minorities and women in the workplace. Pursuant to federal regulations, affirmative action plans must consist of an equal opportunity policy statement, and analysis of the current work force, identification of problem areas, the establishment of goals and timetables for increasing employment opportunities, specific action-oriented programs to address problem areas, support for community action programs, and the establishment of an internal audit and report system.
Twelve states, over one hundred local governments, and the District of Columbia  have passed statutes that forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; also, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would allegedly make sexuality a protected class, but this bill has yet to pass Congress . As I live in Virginia, Virginia EEO laws are intended to promote nondiscriminatory practices against workers on the basis of race, gender, religion, nationality, political views, color, disability, ethnicity, pregnancy or sexual orientation.
Virginia EEO laws refer to, and comply with, policies laid out in the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission whose mission is “to eradicate employment discrimination at the workplace. ” The Virginia Employment, the Governor of Virginia, the Virginia Council of Human Resources and equal employment acts and statutes have ensured that workers enjoy equal opportunities at the workplace. . Enforcement of EEO laws and regulations in the United States must be seen as a work in progress that is inconsistent and confusing at times.
The court system is left to resolve the disputes and interpret the laws. Often lower courts have issued conflicting rulings and interpretations. The ultimate interpretation often has rested on decisions by the U. S. Supreme Court. Often the laws Equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws prohibit specific types of job discrimination in certain workplaces. This is another reason why EEO enforcement offices were created. The Department of Labor (DOL) has two agencies which deal with EEO monitoring and enforcement.
The first is the Civil Rights Center, a division of the Office of Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (OASAM), which oversees EEO in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance as well as assuring equal opportunity for all applicants to and employees of DOL. The second is The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), which oversees employers holding federal contracts and subcontracts.
Ultimately EEO is an attempt to level the field of opportunity for all people at work, especially when members of a protected class are treated differently from others, regardless of discriminatory intent (disparate treatment) and when employment decisions work to the disadvantage of member of protected classes, regardless of discriminator intent (disparate impact). Compliance and implementation of EEO requires appropriate recordkeeping, completing the annual reports (EEO-1), keeping applicant-flow data, and investigating EEO complaints.