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EEOC Has Record-Setting Year

The Obama Administration may go down in history as the Administration of Enforcement: investigations of worker misclassification and wage and hour issues are way up.  Now we’re seeing it also applies to the civil rights arena.

Last year was a record-setting year for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  It received more charges than ever, resolved more charges and obtained more monetary relief through mediation than ever, and reduced its pending charge inventory by nearly 10 percent.  The agency secured several multi-million dollar consent decrees in class actions against large employers.  To top it off, the EEOC accomplished these feats despite a hiring freeze.

The EEOC is on an upswing, so compliance is more important than ever.  Employees are filing charges in record numbers, in part due to outreach programs in which the EEOC encourages employees to go after employers who have violated the law.  In addition, the mandatory EEOC poster contains a toll-free number for employees.

As with many of the Obama Administration’s initiatives, the revitalized EEOC is not about changing the law but about increasing scrutiny.  This can be more significant for employers because new laws do not necessarily lead to more enforcement, but when an agency steps up enforcement of existing laws, employers need to be ready.

Take this opportunity to make sure you know whether you are in compliance.  Have you trained your supervisors?  Do your employees, and more importantly supervisors, understand the ramifications their behavior can have for the company?  Is your handbook up to date?  When did you last have an HR audit?  Make sure your company is ready if the Government focuses on you.

Brody and Associates regularly provides counsel on civil rights issues and employment litigation in general.  We also help employers with all aspects of Human Resource audit and compliance strategies.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.