On October 20, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a completely redesigned poster informing employees of their legal rights under numerous anti-discrimination regulations (dating as far back as 2014). The updated poster — ‘Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal’ — replaces the ‘Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law’ poster. Effective immediately, the new posting impacts nearly every U.S. employer with 15+ employees.
Here are answers to common questions about the EEOC, the updated workplace posting and what you must do to comply.
Q: What is the EEOC?
A: The EEOC is the government agency that administers and enforces federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination. The agency was created under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to help protect employees and job applicants from employment-related discrimination. As part of its role, the EEOC requires businesses to display a mandatory poster about federal anti-discrimination laws.
Q: What are the changes to the EEOC poster?
A: The entire poster was revamped, including a new name and extensive modifications to seven sections. The updated ‘Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal’ poster:
- Uses straightforward language and formatting
- Indicates that harassment is a prohibited form of discrimination
- Clarifies that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on pregnancy and related conditions, sexual orientation and gender identity
- Adds a QR code for fast digital access to the how to file a charge webpage
- Provides information for federal contractors about equal pay discrimination (pay transparency), affirmative action protections for veterans, and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Q: What are the regulatory changes covered in the ‘Know Your Rights’ poster?
A: The updated poster summarizes four different regulations/laws issued from 2014-2020:
- Sexual orientation and gender identity (all private employers with 15+ employees) — a Supreme Court ruling on 6/15/20 that gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
- Pay transparency (federal contractors) — a new rule by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) on 1/11/16 that employers with federal contracts cannot discriminate/retaliate against employees or applicants for discussing their wages
- Sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination (federal contractors) — a final rule by the Department of Labor on 4/8/15 that employers with federal contracts cannot discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity
- New affirmative action requirements for protected veterans (federal contractors) — new rules by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) on 3/24/14 that employers with federal contracts must meet new affirmative action obligations for hiring protected veterans and disabled individuals
The updated ‘Know Your Rights’ poster is an official notice describing the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability and genetic information. It also provides contact information for filing a discrimination charge with the EEOC.
Q: What does EEOC compliance entail?
A: EEOC compliance means to operate a business according to the anti-discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC. These laws, which are covered in the ‘Know Your Rights’ poster (along with four regulatory updates), are:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act — forbids employers from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin
- Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act — prohibit employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants based on disabilities, in addition to requiring employers to make ‘reasonable accommodations’ for disabled employees
- The Age Discrimination Act — makes it illegal to discriminate against job applicants and employees aged 40 and older
- The Equal Pay Act — prohibits pay discrimination based on gender
- Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) — bars employers from discriminating based on genetic information
Q: Do the laws enforced by the EEOC apply to all businesses?
A: Most employers with at least 15 employees must comply with the federal anti-discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC. This includes private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions. Labor unions and staffing agencies are also subject to these laws. (It’s important to note that employers not covered by federal anti-discrimination laws may be subject to similar state and/or local laws, which often apply to smaller businesses.)
Q: What are the requirements with the ‘Know Your Rights’ poster?
A: For employers with 15 or more employees, the ‘Know Your Rights’ poster should be displayed in a conspicuous location in the workplace where notices to applicants and employees are customarily posted. Be aware, too, that the ‘Know Your Rights’ EEOC poster is one of four federal posters that must be accessible to both employees and job candidates. In specific cases, an electronic posting can supplement this physical posting, or act as the primary means of communication for employers without a physical location or who permit remote work.
Q: What are the fines and repercussions for failing to display the ‘Know Your Rights’ poster?
A: The maximum penalty for violating mandatory workplace posting requirements is $612 per location. Failure to post can also be considered a sign of ‘bad faith’ in a legal dispute because you didn’t properly inform employees of their rights. In certain instances, it can even extend the statute of limitations, which gives an individual more time to file a lawsuit.
Q: Is the updated ‘Know Your Rights’ poster the only federal requirement?
A: No! The new ‘Know Your Rights’ poster by the EEOC is just one of six mandatory federal posting requirements for employers. Most employers must also display certain state-issued — and often city- and county-level — notices. Fortunately, expert assistance is available. Poster Guard® Poster Compliance Service gets your business up to date with all required federal, state and local labor law postings – and keeps it that way for a full 12 months. You’ll receive a complete poster set plus automatic replacements any time a mandatory change occurs, providing you with year-round peace of mind.