EEO: what does it mean?
In the United States, EEO is an acronym that stands for Equal Employment Opportunity. It refers to a statement that gets appended to the copy of many online and offline job offers. The statement is often labeled EEO — or EOE, which stands for Equal Opportunity Employer. The EEO statement specifies the terms by which the employer complies with the regulations of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC.)
The wording of the EEO statement can take many forms; in it’s simplest shape, it serves to inform the prospective employees that the employer complies with the law. Many established employers use a long detailed statement. Some employers use a minimalist approach and close their job description with the simplest signature: EOE, or Equal Opportunity Employer.) Others use a longer form to advertise their culture and inclusive practices. Here’s an example:
“Zayo is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Zayo does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and business need.”1
The EEOC and the law
The EEOC is the federal (U.S.) organization tasked with enforcing the anti-discrimination laws passed by the U.S. government. The EEOC makes regulations and handles complaints by employees. These laws and regulations extend the protections afforded by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to all employed U.S. citizens.
Employers are directly responsible for promoting equal employment opportunities. They must maintain certain employment records, especially if they have been charged with discrimination. Employers are obligated to protect their employees from harassment by supervisors, clients or other workers.2
Every U.S. employer is subject to the same federal anti-discrimination laws. However, the EEOC can only enforce those laws for employers with a minimum of 15 employees.
What does EEO mean to me?
The equal opportunity laws that relate to employment in the U.S. apply to everyone. Obviously, in the case hiring remote and contractual workers, the legal terrain got significantly muddy.
The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.3
On one hand, the gig economy gives employers a lot of opportunities (no pun intended) to circumvent the laws and regulations and discriminate more or less at will. On the other hand, many if not most of the discriminatory practices have little to go with when there’s a lot less “humans” directly involved.
- 10 Samples of an EEO Statement | The Magnet || presented by Ongig, 10 Samples of an Effective EEO Statement, https://blog.ongig.com/diversity-and-inclusion/eeo-statement-samples
- What Is Equal Opportunity Employment? | Chron.com, What Is Equal Opportunity Employment?, http://smallbusiness.chron.com/equal-opportunity-employment-895.html
- About the EEOC: Overview, Overview, https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/index.cfm