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The EEOC and Public Entities

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its Charge Statistics that categorize the 91,000 charges filed with them in 2016. A select task force released a report detailing recommendations for harassment prevention. These risk factors provide a road map to help you identify and prevent discriminatory practices. Taking a look at them is an important step for all public entities and school districts.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released its 
Charge Statistics that breakdown the categories of approximately 91,000 charges 
filed with the EEOC in 2016. The total number of charges involving discrimination
increased again. Some of the largest areas of discrimination include the following:1

EEOC Charges by Category (FY 2016):

In an effort to aid employers in preventing discrimination before it takes place, an EEOC Select Task Force released a report detailing recommendations for harassment prevention. A key feature of the study provides employers with a roadmap for identifying risk factors for harassment that may exist in their environment. The risk factors were identified by investigators, diversity leaders and human resource personnel as well as academic research.2  They include:

It is important to look at these risk factors as a starting point for a discussion on how to avoid other claims beyond EEOC Title VII charges. For example, a discussion about the risk factor of “workplaces where some workers do not conform to workplace norms” can lead to a discussion about an LGBTQ employee or a a transgender student regarding access to a bathroom.  The EEOC included detailed information in 2016 statistics that show that charges filed by LGBTQ individuals have steadily increased, as have the monetary benefits awarded.

A discussion about “cultural and language differences in the workplace” can lead to a discussion about tolerance of religion differences. Keeping these risk factors at the forefront of your thinking can help your zoning board or school board anticipate issues and avoid controversy - otherwise, your decisions could be influenced in part by a group seeking access to school facilities or a zoning change.

Endnote
1. eeoc.gov. Because individuals often file charges claiming multiple types of discrimination, the number of total charges for any given fiscal year will be less than the total of the 10 types of discrimination listed.  
2. https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/task_force/harassment/report.cfm

 


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