In 2023, the number of lawsuits filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) saw a significant 52% increase. This has left businesses wondering about what might happen in 2024.
As a protector of workers’ rights, the EEOC makes sure that federal laws against workplace discrimination are followed. Their main job is to guarantee that everyone is treated fairly. They aim to shield them from discrimination based on any of the following:
- Place of origin
The EEOC is very dedicated to being fair and ensuring everyone is treated equally. To do this, it splits its efforts into three ways: providing education, prevention, and investigating complaints of discrimination. Its ultimate goal is to create a job market where every individual can participate and thrive, free from the burden of unjust bias or prejudice.
Based on recent behavior, companies can expect the EEOC to proactively address discrimination in the following year. Here, Chicago-based company, Launchways provides insights into the EEOC’s anticipated influence through 2024.
The EEOC’s Mission Intensifies
During fiscal year 2024, which started on October 1, the EEOC is set to intensify its efforts. This predicted increase in activity is partly due to a significant budget increase of 6%, amounting to an additional $26 million in funding. This financial boost underscores the government’s commitment to protecting workers’ rights.
Another factor is that the EEOC is now under the control of the Democratic party. After a year-long tie, the senate approved democrat Kalpana Kotagal to the five-chair committee. The democrat-rich EEOC is more likely to aggressively pursue all kinds of unfair treatment at work.
The EEOC’s plans include taking legal action against discrimination and identifying new forms of bias. In the year that ended on September 30, 2023, the EEOC filed 143 lawsuits. Some of these were about widespread discrimination. For example, one well-known case accused Tesla of worker discrimination at their factory in California.
What’s more, the EEOC is very determined to deal with new challenges in the workplace. For example, EEOC recently solved its first case involving AI bias. An international tutoring company, iTutorGroup, was using artificial intelligence to hire employees. They were required to pay $365,000 because the AI was picking candidates unfairly.
As the commission becomes more determined, employers should stay watchful. They should make sure to maintain a workplace that is fair, free from discrimination, and open to all employees.
What Can Employers Do?
Employers must take proactive steps to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws. Here are some key actions that businesses can take to promote fairness and prepare for the expected surge in EEOC lawsuits in 2024:
- Review and Update Policies: Employers need to carefully check their workplace rules. Look for regulations regarding discrimination, harassment, and equal chances. Making sure these rules cover everything, stay current, and are well explained to employees is really important.
- Provide Training: Teach employees and managers about anti-discrimination laws and rules. Regular training can make people aware and show them how to deal with discrimination at work.
- Set Up Reporting Systems: Make clear and private ways for employees to report discrimination. This is crucial for stopping issues before they get worse.
- Investigate Quickly: When there are complaints about discrimination, employers should immediately investigate. This not only solves problems but also shows that they are serious about fixing discrimination.
- Encourage Diversity and Inclusion: Building a diverse and inclusive workplace isn’t just a legal rule; it’s also the right thing to do. Employers can take steps to bring in more diversity at all levels of the company, making a place where all employees feel respected and valued.
What Is the Takeaway?
As we look ahead to 2024, it’s evident that the EEOC’s role in combating workplace discrimination will continue to be prominent. Employers should understand the changing rules and the EEOC’s dedication to strategically enforcing them.
The main idea for businesses is that being proactive is the best way to protect against possible EEOC lawsuits.
Employers can create a workplace that follows the law and treats all employees fairly by taking these steps:
- Checking and improving company policies
- Offering training
- Setting up reliable reporting systems
- Promptly investigating issues
- Promoting diversity and inclusivity
In the end, protecting workers’ rights and preventing discrimination benefits both employees and employers. With the right actions in place, businesses can navigate the evolving workplace rules and help build a more just and inclusive future.