The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) strives to ensure that workers are treated fairly and properly in the United States. Historically, workers have not had very many rights. The EEOC has set up certain restrictions on ways that employers are allowed to act to try to make things a bit fairer for the employees.
That being said, even federal employers may not always understand exactly what these protections are or how they apply. It’s important for employees to know how the EEOC works on their behalf and what they can do when they feel like their rights are being violated.
First of all, the EEOC helps to combat things like harassment or discrimination on the job. They do this by setting up protected classes, such as race, religion, gender, national origin and the like. It is illegal for workers to be discriminated against based on these protected classes. For example, it is no longer legal for employers to consider race when deciding which person to hire.
The EEOC can also help those who believe they have been wrongfully terminated. This could happen if you were fired in violation of a contract, for example. But even at-will (non-contractual) employees can be wrongfully terminated. If you were fired because you joined a new religion and told your boss about it, for example, you could be facing discrimination.
Many other areas
The above are examples of ways that the EEOC works, but they are certainly not the only areas they address. The EEOC may also be involved with wage and hour violations, such as an employer who refuses to pay overtime or who misclassifies employees so they don’t have to give them benefits.
If you believe that your rights have been violated in one of these ways or any other, be sure you know how the law works on your side and what legal steps you can take.