The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission works to advocate for employees who have been victimized by discriminatory action in the workplace. In addition to monitoring and investigating 12 distinct classes of discrimination, the agency has been known to sue companies that failed to protect their workers. It is up to businesses to adhere to civil rights laws by cultivating nondiscriminatory professional environments.
There are numerous actions that might be considered discriminatory when they occur in the workplace. Job interviewers who ask potential hires certain questions about their disabilities, age or family structure may be breaking the law. Although many working environments enjoy a certain degree of informality, companies that observe abusive interactions should take steps to let individual offenders know that their behaviors are unacceptable. All the while, employers must document their efforts to comply with the law and create more welcoming employment conditions.
Training is an important aspect of creating a discrimination-free workplace. Along with posting formal non-discrimination policies in locations where employees can easily see them, companies need to ensure that each member of the workforce has received education about how to respond to and report transgressions. Many companies even have their new hires sign documents acknowledging their consent to nondiscrimination policies.
Although there are many methods that employers can use to better their workplace conditions, some companies still fail at protecting people from discrimination. This may result in toxic professional cultures where victims are targeted by their colleagues, or illegal behaviors might originate with managers and hiring staff who actively engage in workplace discrimination or let it slide. Discussing these conditions with a legal adviser could make it easier for victims to fight back by reporting their mistreatment to the EEOC.