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Employers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces Federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. These laws protect employees and job applicants against employment discrimination when it involves:

  • Unfair treatment because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
  • Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in the workplace, because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
  • Denial of a reasonable workplace accommodation that the employee needs because of religious beliefs or disability.
  • Retaliation because the employee complained about job discrimination, or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Not all employers are covered by the laws we enforce, and not all employees are protected. This can vary depending on the type of employer, the number of employees it has, and the type of discrimination alleged.

An employee or job applicant who believes that he or she has been discriminated against at work can file a "Charge of Discrimination." All of the laws enforced by EEOC, except for the Equal Pay Act, require employees and applicants to file a Charge of Discrimination with us before they can file a job discrimination lawsuit against their employer. Also, there are strict time limits for filing a charge.

The fact that the EEOC has taken a charge does not mean that the government is accusing anyone of discrimination. The charging party has alleged that an employer has discriminated against him or her and it is the EEOC's job to investigate the matter to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred.

Other Requirements

The laws enforced by EEOC require employers to keep certain records, regardless of whether a charge has been filed against them. When a charge has been filed, employers have additional recordkeeping obligations. The EEOC also collects workforce data from some employers, regardless of whether a charge has been filed against the company.

Employers are required to post notices describing the Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

Small Businesses

While the information in this section of our website applies to all employers, it has been specifically designed for small businesses which may not have a human resources department or a specialized EEO staff. We realize that the information provided here may not answer all of the sophisticated legal issues that can arise in employment discrimination cases. Employers who have questions about the laws enforced by EEOC or about compliance with those laws in specific workplace situations may contact one of our small business liaisons for assistance.

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Other Government Resources for Business

Business.USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to support business start-ups, growth, financing and exporting. It is designed to provide access to online resources and services of Federal, state, and local Government as well as those of non-profit and educational organizations supporting businesses.

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