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In case you missed it, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) approved its strategic enforcement plan in mid-December 2012. The plan, which is now in effect, outlines the EEOC’s enforcement efforts on hiring, pay, and harassment for fiscal years 2013 to 2016.

The plan identifies several enforcement priorities: Eliminating Barriers in Recruitment and Hiring; Protecting Immigrant, Migrant and Other Vulnerable Workers; Addressing Emerging and Developing Issues; Enforcing Equal Pay Laws; Preserving Access to the Legal System; and Preventing Harassment Through Systemic Enforcement and Targeted Outreach.

Below is a summary of key hiring-, pay- and harassment-related issues critical to employers, plus a link to download an article from the Society for Human Resource Management.

If you have any questions about how you and your employees are impacted, call or email KMA at (207) 232-4203 or info@kmahr.com.

HIRING

  • Ensure the need for background investigations is job-related and the conviction information considered relates to the work performed. For example, don’t use credit history information to eliminate candidates who do not work with money or finances.
  • Avoid a blanket elimination of candidates based on arrest records and convictions, and use only related conviction and not arrest record information.
  • Be consistent in eliminating candidates based on background investigation results regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin and ancestry, gender, and other protected class groups
  • Make sure you are following the Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements for notifications to employees if third party vendors are used to check backgrounds.

PAY

  • Review and compare pay of individuals who hold similar positions. Look for pay differences among employees of different protected class groups including gender, race, ethnicity, national origin or ancestry, disability, etc.
  • Ensure pay differences can be justified by differences in qualifications such as experience, education/training, and skill as well as length of service and performance.
  • Ensure hiring rates as well as pay increases and bonuses reflect nondiscriminatory practices.

HARASSMENT

  • Maine requires sexual harassment training for employers with 15 or more employees. Make sure this is occurring and that a sexual harassment policy is in place and communicated at least annually. Ensure the required supervisory training is also happening.
  • Add training on harassment of other protected class groups to the sexual harassment training.
  • Ensure immediate action and investigation is taken when complaints are received and that no retaliatory measures are taken against those who file complaints or participate in investigations.
  • Think about your workplace culture and ensure management is setting the tone of respectful treatment of all employees including non-toleration for harassment of any type.

GENERAL ADVICE

  • Audit your human resources practices regularly and use the services of a professional audit team to provide information and guidance on compliance and human resource best practices. (Read about KMA about Federal and State compliance audits.)

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Read article from the Society for Human Resource Management or contact KMA today.