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EEOC Offers Compliance Tips for Small Businesses



The EEOC has expanded its online resources aimed at small-business owners to assist with compliance with equal opportunity laws, highlighting its small business liaisons who can offer training and answer questions about the laws the EEOC enforces. But employers should keep in mind that the EEOC’s tips are not tailored to specific facts and circumstances.


The small business section of the EEOC’s website includes helpful information on basic equal employment opportunity issues, such as recordkeeping and notice posting, non-discrimination in hiring, and prevention of unlawful harassment and retaliation. There also are videos that focus on proper interview questions – and questions to be avoided — during the hiring process.


While such general information is a welcome addition to the EEOC’s online resources, employers should understand that the EEOC’s Small Business Resource Center cannot take the place of professional advice from legal counsel on what can be complex and nuanced issues involving compliance with myriad employment laws.


In particular, if an employer receives a charge of discrimination the EEOC cannot provide legal advice regarding the appropriate response to the allegations or the potential legal consequences.


So while small-business owners may find the EEOC’s resources to be useful for general guidance, they should consider consulting their own legal representatives for assistance in complying with equal opportunity laws as they apply to specific situations, particularly if a charge of discrimination is filed by an employee or former employee.


The EEOC provides further details on its enhanced resources for small businesses here.


Jennifer Cerven

Jennifer Cerven is a staff attorney in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, where she is a member of the Labor and Employment Law Department. She concentrates her practice in the defense of employment discrimination matters before administrative agencies including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

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