Equal Employment Opportunity: What You Need to Know

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Equal Employment Opportunity: What You Need to Know

The basic concept behind equal employment opportunity (EEO) is that everyone should be treated equally – or fairly – in relation to employment decisions, including those related to hiring, advancement, compensation, termination, and beyond. Everyone who meets a job’s requirements should be fairly considered, and when this isn’t the case, there are legal protections in place. If you have questions or concerns about equal employment opportunities, an experienced San Francisco employment lawyer can help. 

Equal Employment Opportunity

Equal employment opportunity, from a legal perspective, is intended to provide employees and prospective employees with equal opportunities and the same chance that others have in relation to job hiring and other employment practices. The kinds of characteristics that are protected in the State of California include:

  • The employee’s race or color
  • The employee’s national origin or ethnicity
  • The employee’s religion
  • The employee’s age – if over 40
  • The employee’s sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation  
  • The employee’s physical or mental disability
  • The employee’s medical condition
  • The employee’s military or veteran status
  • The employee’s political affiliation
  • The employee’s request for medical or family care leave 

While the enforcement of EEO does not mean that every protected class will be equally represented, it does mean that individuals can’t be penalized or can’t face undue hardships as a result of being in a protected class. 

Employers’ Responsibilities

Employers are required to take the reasonable steps necessary to help prevent and promptly address harassment and discrimination on the job. This includes incorporating equal employment opportunities into every facet of the employment process, including human resource management policies. 

Equal Employment Opportunity Basics

For employers to uphold their legal obligations in relation to EEO, they must take all the following into consideration:

  • Implementing unbiased policies that don’t exclude or penalize people with specific characteristics
  • Making fair employment decisions that are not based on protected characteristics
  • Granting reasonable accommodations to employees for reasons related to physical or mental disabilities, religion, pregnancy, or medical needs
  • Rooting out harassment in the workplace, which includes ensuring that employees are not targeted for complaining about harassment
  • Providing equal pay for all those who perform the same job – any pay discrepancies should be based on merit, seniority, work quality, level of education, experience, and overall training.
  • Swiftly and effectively responding to employee complaints of discrimination.
  • Displaying all discrimination laws in a prominent spot that’s accessible to all employees
  • Following all payroll record retention requirements

Seek the Legal Guidance of an Experienced San Francisco Employment Lawyer Today

Equal employment opportunity is an important legal concept that helps protect employees and applicants from unfair treatment on the job and other unfair employment practices. Jeannette Vaccaro at The Law Office of Jeannette A. Vaccaro in San Francisco is a distinguished employment lawyer who takes great pride in her impressive track record for successfully defending the rights of clients like you. We are on your side and here to help, so please don’t put off reaching out and contacting us for more information today.

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