Discrimination Law - Be Careful!

Discrimination law prohibits discrimination on the basis race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability. Most employers do not generally set out to discriminate against anyone, but based on how the discrimination law they can be held liable for it occurring even if they had no intent. However, there are employers out there that do think they are above the law and will do as they please at their own peril.

As a business owner one of the first steps at protecting your employees and your company is to have policies/rules in the form of an employee handbook in place and ensuring that you apply them equally across the board. Understand that it is not just your employees on the payroll that can charge you with violating the discrimination law, but individuals you interview and don’t hire as well.

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progressive discipline process

Complete the Open Blocks to Prepare an Employee Written Warning Notice

So let’s take a look at how easy it may be to violate...

So let’s take a look at how easy it may be to violate this employment law. You interview two applicants for a position for your business. Both applicants seem fairly equal; however, one has significantly more education and experience. Other than this the only difference in them is one is twenty-eight and the other is fifty-three. During the interview you make a casual comment that you are looking to energize your business with new blood. Then you hire the younger applicant. The older applicant files an age discrimination law suit! Surprise!

...if you are selecting applicants for promotion...

Age discrimination applies to anyone over forty. If your business falls into certain categories based on the state you live in or if you have any government contracts you may be subject to a higher degree of the law, i.e., Affirmative Action.

The same could apply to you if you are selecting applicants for promotion, a training program that could help their advancement, etc.

The most important thing you can do is to produce an employee handbook that states how you apply the discrimination law. There are many employee handbook software programs that practically write the handbook for you at a cost you just can’t pass up. Standard Legal is just one of them.

I was visited by the federal government Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP)

Having a policy that covers discrimination based on the state and/or federal law will help to protect you if someone makes the claim against you.

Some time back I was visited by the federal government Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP). This agency enforces businesses with government contracts so that they comply with the Affirmative Action Program.

Our business had an engineering department that employed electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and HAVC technicians. These career fields are primarily dominated by males. We were charged with not making a true attempt to hire females since we didn’t have any in this department within our organization. Keep in mind that we had plenty of women in other departments, just not this one.

They reviewed every application, interview notes, employment files, training rosters...

The law dictates that we should have gone out of our way to contact women organizations that included these professions and encouraged them to apply for our business. Even though this seems unreasonable it still applied to us.

They reviewed every application, interview notes, employment files, training rosters, promotions, raises, etc. It was really intense and a royal pain in the back side!

So as you consider you an employee handbook and how the law will affect your business, don’t forget to dot your i’s and cross your t’s.

Good Luck and May God Bless You!

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