Equal employment opportunity (EEO) has always been a cornerstone of the federal civil service. The government prides itself on striving to be a model employer and setting an example for the private sector.
Many government agencies have a positive record of achievement on EEO issues and fostering work environments which are diverse, fair, inclusive and free of discrimination or harassment.
Nevertheless, much work remains to be done due to the prevalence of subtle and overt discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, equal pay and sex (including pregnancy, sexual harassment and sexual orientation).
Another important issue for which employers should be increasingly mindful is retaliation against workers for exercising their statutory right to speak out against alleged discrimination and/or participate in an EEO investigation. Retaliation or reprisal is unlawful.
- That’s why it’s incumbent upon all employers and employees to remain vigilant about EEO compliance, particularly as America observes the 50th anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 (CRA).
Title VII of the CRA prohibits workplace discrimination in the public and private sectors. Title VII also created the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which opened for business in July 1965.
EEO Training & Best Practices
As noted, while much progress has been made over the past half-century to combat employment discrimination, there remains much work to be done (as evidenced by EEOC data and anecdotal information, among other factors).
- Thus it’s important for all employers to receive the proper training and education needed to continually foster EEO best practices and maintain discrimination-free work environments.
With this in mind, GovLoop members and others should take note of the EEOC’s 17th annual EXCEL training event for the public and private sectors, which takes place August 12-14 in San Diego, CA. EXCEL stands for Examining Conflicts In Employment Laws.
- Check out the EEOC EXCEL page on GovLoop
Most savvy employers should know by now that maintaining a discrimination-free workplace simply makes good business sense. This is because a healthy work environment increases bottom-line productivity, enhances employee engagement and morale, as well as having other beneficial effects in the workplace.
On the flipside, there’s usually a heavy price to pay for allowing discrimination to poison the workplace or corporate culture. The financial cost for employers is not only due to investigations and/or litigation, but also includes lost productivity, low morale and job dissatisfaction by employees.
In essence, one cannot put a price on fostering EEO best practices to create model workplaces for all employees. The EEOC’s EXCEL training event is a viable means to that end – and one that should not be missed.
* NOTE: All views and opinions are those of the author only.
David Grinberg is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.