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Sex Discrimination And The EEOC: What Your Clients Need To Know

Jun 28 2016, by PEOPLE in Sales

Committing EEOC violations is a huge concern for business owners and employers. Their wallets and their reputations can both take a pretty big hit. As agents, it’s our job to stay on top of the latest news, keep our clients informed about legal changes, and advise them on how to proceed. Federal contractors have recently received new rules on sex discrimination. But agents should listen up because this can also affect private sector employers. The new rules for federal contractors clearly shows a new standard for how all employers will be expected to treat their employees. Here are some key points from the new sex discrimination rules that agents should share with their clients to help them stay on the EEOC’s good side.

The first statement addresses the use of bathrooms. According to the new rules, federal contractors must allow employees to use whichever bathroom, changing room, showers, or other necessary facilities that matches their gender identity. Agents should emphasize that business owners and employers in the private sector may want to strongly consider mimicking this policy, even though it doesn’t directly apply to them. The EEOC could easily broaden their horizons and find grounds for investigating employers who don’t allow this as engaging in sex discrimination.

Agents will probably not be surprised to find that the new sex discrimination rules for federal contractors includes information about pay discrepancies. Obviously, the rule states that covered employers cannot pay their employees differently based on their sex, but it goes into more detail, which agents will want to pay attention to. If employees have similar job tasks, levels of responsibility, job difficulty, and working conditions, they must be paid the same regardless of sex. Additionally, employees may be considered to be “similarly situated,” as the rule puts it, if some but not all of the above mentioned factors overlap. Your clients will want to know that the government is paying closer attention to pay discrepancy issues, and the best way to avoid EEOC violations is by staying one step ahead of the game.

Pregnancy and childbirth are also covered in the new rules regarding sex discrimination in the workplace. Federal contractors must provide reasonable accommodations, such as light duty tasks and more frequent bathroom breaks, if an employee needs them because she is pregnant or has recently given birth. Many private sector employers and business owners do this already, but it’s a good idea for agents to remind their clients that the EEOC is on the lookout for pregnancy related sex discrimination. If accommodation is denied to a pregnant employee, it can be seen as a form a sex discrimination. You can help your clients work with pregnant employees or employees who have recently given birth to figure out what accommodations can work best for everyone.

Sex discrimination is a big deal in the eyes of the EEOC. But agents can help business owners and employers avoid lawsuits and fines by keeping an eye out for new information and seeing how it can be applied to their clients, even if it’s not necessarily directly targeted towards them.