EEOC Updates Guidance on Discrimination Compliance

The EEOC has issues new guidance on how businesses need to comply with the federal policies against discrimination. There are several clarifications on what is discriminatory action or behavior that businesses need to be aware of.

EEOC Chair Jenny Yang said that the EEOC had identified migrant, immigrant, and other vulnerable populations as a national strategic priority. That means actions that impact these groups’ employment is going to be carefully scrutinized.

“Perceived” national origin, ethnicity, or religious practice or belief cannot be grounds for an employment decision.

Any use of force, fraud, or coercion toward people is human trafficking, and is also considered by the EEOC as discrimination based on country of origin. Behaviors that can be interpreted as criminal human trafficking and civil discrimination are both the responsibility of the employer and the agent acting to secure labor. A business is liable for what its staffing firms do.

It is considered coercion to hold an employee’s passport or other identification and travel documents. Businesses cannot charge employees for the equipment and supplies needed to perform the job, or require them to use substandard housing. These are both actions that are commonly viewed as coercive and typical of criminal human trafficking. 

Customers of your business cannot discriminate against an employee. You cannot make staffing decisions based on a customer preference if that preference is based on discrimination. This includes physical segregation of employees away from customer or public areas of business. 

If new immigrants are work-eligible, and have not yet obtained a social security number, they must be allowed to work while the request is being processed. A business can require English fluency as long as the requirement is applied equitably and is driven by a business necessity.

Foreign operations of an American company are required to abide by these employment standards.

For more information on human resources, please contact us.