In 2022, almost 50% of surveyed employees identified discrimination as a problem in the workplace. Unfortunately, harassment and discrimination can still happen even with policies in place to prevent it. As an employer, it is imperative that you have an updated procedure for identifying, reporting, and addressing acts of harassment and discrimination in order to protect your employees and your business. Some Basics About the Laws The federal government requires all employers to post their company’s provisions of the rules in the workplace. All applicants and employees must have access to view them at any time. Some states have provisions in their laws that are more stringent than federal laws. So, be sure to check your state laws when developing or updating your business’ policies and procedures. There are a few common discrimination laws that have been put in place to protect employees in the workplace. As an employer, it is important to be familiar with them. Here are some examples:
- Federal equal employment laws requiring non-harassment and non-discrimination against persons in the protected classes generally apply to private employers with 15 or more employees. The protected classes are race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.
- The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects persons aged 40 or older applying to or working for employers with 20 or more employees.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act require equal pay to male and female employees in similar positions working for employers with 15 or more employees.
- However, the Equal Pay Act requires equal pay for employees working for virtually all employers.
- Expressing comments, jokes, puns, innuendos, bantering, and teasing that demean, insult, or offend others.
- Leering, gawking, and making other nonverbal gestures that are demeaning, insulting, or offensive.
- Posting or displaying pictures, photos, illustrations, or objects in the workplace that demean or offend another person or persons, including sexually oriented pictures, photos, and illustrations.
- Sexually offensive comments, jokes, innuendos, and other sexually-oriented statements directed at an employee.