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EEOC Releases New Guidance on Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws for All Workers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a new poster that must be displayed prominently by all covered employers. The new poster, titled “Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal,” replaces the previous “EEO is the Law” version and provides updated guidelines for employees to understand their rights in the workplace. 

The updated poster demonstrates a shift in the EEOC’s attitude toward workers’ right to be informed. Learn why EEOC posters matter, how the new guidelines may affect you, and how to take action if your rights are violated at work. 

Why EEOC Posters Matter

The EEOC is responsible for ensuring that employers and employees alike understand their rights and responsibilities in the workplace. One way the EEOC has accomplished this is by mandating that covered employers clearly post government-approved notices regarding workers’ rights on work sites. The EEOC develops posters that cover these rights to ensure that all relevant employers display the same information and do not leave out critical details. 

Covered employers generally include organizations with 15 or more employees. These companies must ensure the posters are displayed in a prominent location that is easily accessible to people with disabilities at each work site. They are also encouraged to post them on their online workers’ portal. This is intended to ensure that every worker has the opportunity to read and understand their rights, particularly in large organizations that may have more resources to oppose disputes with employees. 

The Impact of the New EEOC Guidelines

The updated “Know Your Rights” poster significantly improved from the previous version. The current version includes the same information as the “EEO is the Law” poster but changes the format and adds additional resources for workers. Information carried over from the previous poster includes an explanation of workplace discrimination law regarding:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Genetic information
  • Equal pay
  • Retaliation for filing charges or otherwise opposing discrimination

This information is rewritten and restructured in the “Know Your Rights” poster. While the “EEO is the Law” poster covered all of these subjects, it did so in dense text without an easy-to-follow structure. The new version has been written with straightforward language and formatted to include bullet points, making it easier to read at a glance. 

In addition, the new poster clarifies that:

  • Discriminatory actions because of pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity is a form of sex discrimination
  • Harassment is also considered discrimination
  • Contractors are also due equal pay, though under different guidelines than traditional employees

Finally, the poster adds a QR code that allows workers to access a webpage explaining how to file a discrimination charge against their employer. It is available in English and Spanish, with new translations available in the future. 

Employers must acquire the “Know Your Rights” poster and use it to replace the previous version as soon as possible. If the new poster is not hung in a reasonable timeframe, covered employers may be subject to fines based on how long they have delayed. 

Determining If Your Rights Are Being Violated

The EEOC poster is a valuable resource for anyone concerned about workplace discrimination. The poster should be easy to find and read if you work for a covered employer. If not, your employer may be violating your rights. To determine if your employer is failing to meet EEOC standards, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your employer covered? If the company has 15 or more workers, the answer is almost certainly yes. Smaller organizations may also be covered if they meet specific standards, such as being a public or government institution.
  • Is there a poster anywhere on the property? Covered employers must physically post the notice on the property. It may not only be provided by email or through a website. 
  • Is the poster easy to access? The notice must be posted prominently, typically in a break room, next to a timecard machine, or in other locations where employees spend their time. This means it can’t be in an area inaccessible to certain workers, such as an executive lounge.
  • Is the poster accessible to people with disabilities? The notice must be accessible to disabled people, so it cannot be posted somewhere a person in a wheelchair or with other restrictions would be unable to see.

If your employer has not met these criteria, they violate EEOC regulations. 

What to Do If You Are Suffering Discrimination

EEOC regulations are among the most basic requirements covered employers must meet. If your workplace has not posted the new freely available EEOC notice, it may be a sign that your rights are being violated in other ways. You should consider whether you suffer from discrimination, such as unequal pay, harassment, lack of disability accommodations, or other problems. 

If so, you can take action:

  • Document the discrimination: Collect evidence that you suffer from unfair workplace treatment because you are part of a protected class. This can include writing down instances of harassment or saving communications that show you are being treated poorly. 
  • Consider notifying your workplace: If the discrimination is primarily performed by one person, you may be able to notify Human Resources and request that they take action against the person abusing you. 
  • Talk to an experienced employment law attorney: If you feel uncomfortable discussing the matter within your company, or if your employer does not respond to your complaints, you should consult with a qualified lawyer and discuss filing an EEOC complaint or a civil lawsuit.

Legal Assistance for Workplace Discrimination

The new EEOC poster clearly demonstrates that the EEOC is putting workers’ needs first. By making the information easier to read and clarifying essential details, the Commission has taken an important step to ensure all employees actually understand their rights. At Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP, we have years of experience advocating for workers in California. We understand how to protect your rights in the workplace, whether through negotiation or litigation. Schedule your consultation today to learn how we can assist you.

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