The Benefits and Challenges Created by EEOC Regulations

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a pillar for enforcing non-discrimination regulations, but are there downsides to those regulations? A closer look at the pros and cons of the EEOC's work reveals why employers should be cautious to avoid an EEOC complaint.

Created as a part of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission plays an important role across the nation. Set up to clamp down on discrimination that ran rampant among employers in every industry, today the EEOC is a watchdog organization that evaluates and responds to complaints and allegations of discrimination by employees and job applicants.

For a business, receiving word of an EEOC complaint can be a major headache—but the regulations that the EEOC enforces have a vital part to play in fostering a better workplace. The effort of navigating concerns around compliance can be well worth the result: demonstrating a company's commitment to fair principles and a diverse group of employees. 

However, that's not to say that the EEOC and its enforcement are unmitigated positives. Some drawbacks surround them as well, and employers would do well to be aware of both sides of the coin. What do you need to know about the pros and cons of EEOC regulations?

The Good: How EEOC Regulations Protect People

There's no denying that the Civil Rights Act was a turning point in the history of employment law. Over time, the protections initially set down in that legislation have been expanded as the government has recognized new concerns and technology and the job market have changed. Because of the rules set down in the law and the work performed by the EEOC, we can recognize several benefits:

  • There is a more level playing field for all job applicants.
  • Individuals have legitimate options for recourse when they earnestly believe an employer has discriminated against them.
  • Fair hiring rules can ensure employers are more likely to encounter diverse talent.
  • It protects individuals from more than discrimination based on race or sex alone.

The EEOC and its enforcement actions are vital for ensuring that the job market remains as fair as possible. There are some concerns, though.

The Bad: Challenges Persist for Employers

For employers, EEOC regulations are more than just guidelines to follow while hiring—they can be a threat hanging over the business. Although business owners typically don't set out to actively discriminate in their hiring process and workplace practices, not everyone follows the rules. That means there are more people than just those at the EEOC watching—lawyers like to listen out for word of potential violations, too. 

Some of the downsides of these regulations include the following:

  • Shifting interpretations of regulations can make it difficult to understand if you comply.
  • Litigious individuals could trigger a complaint claim that takes months to resolve even if your business did not engage in wrongdoing.
  • Interpretation of some EEOC rules can be a challenge, and not every court always reads the rules the same way.
  • Resolving an EEOC complaint can take nearly a year or longer, tying up valuable business resources.

While the EEOC aims to protect the working public, employers must be aware that strict compliance is necessary to protect the business.

Navigating the Regulatory Environment Safely

Although there can be many challenges to work around because of some EEOC regulations and enforcement actions, the protections they safeguard are very important. For employers, a smart, fully-informed approach to the hiring process is the key to avoiding such hassles and headaches. From understanding everything, there is to know about the ins and outs of these regulations to working with background check partners that fully understand your obligations, the power to work safely within these rules is in your hands. Evaluate your current understanding today and see if there is room to improve.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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