Over the years, the federal government has enacted a series of anti-discrimination laws, which prohibit discrimination against job applicants and employees. If your business is covered by these laws, you must comply with them.
You must also display the “Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal” poster, prepared by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Recently, the EEOC updated the poster, and you should be displaying this latest version.
Recently, the EEOC updated the poster, and you should be displaying this latest version.
Before we get into the updated poster, let’s examine some of the federal anti-discrimination laws pertaining to private industry workplaces.
EEOC anti-discrimination laws for private-sector employers
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or sex.
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). An amendment to Title VII prohibiting discrimination against women because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.
- Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA). Prohibits sex-based pay discrimination against men and women who perform equal work for the same employer.
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Prohibits age-based discrimination against people who are 40 or older.
- Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Makes it illegal to discriminate against qualified individuals with a disability.
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). Makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals because of their genetic information.
Most anti-discrimination laws prohibit employers from retaliating against someone because they complained about discrimination, filed a discrimination charge, or participated in a workplace discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
The EEOC’s General Coverage rule says, “If a complaint against a business (or some other private employer) involves race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, disability or genetic information, the business is covered by the laws we enforce if it has 15 or more employees who worked for the employer for at least twenty calendar weeks (in this year or last).”
However, there are exceptions to this 15-or-more-employee threshold. For example, virtually all employers must comply with the Equal Pay Act.
To inform job applicants and employees of their rights under federal anti-discrimination laws, the EEOC created the “Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal” poster. People also know this as the “EEO Is the Law” poster.
For the first time since 2009, the EEOC updated the “Know Your Rights” poster — first on October 19, 2022, and again on October 20, 2022. Covered employers should use the latest version, marked “(Revised 10/20/2022).”
The new “Know Your Rights” poster: What has changed?
The updated “Know Your Rights” poster still informs applicants and employees of their protections under federal anti-discrimination laws. It also reflects the changes listed next.
- Makes clear that sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy (and related conditions), gender identity, or sexual orientation
- States that harassment is a prohibited type of discrimination
- Supplies information on equal pay discrimination for federal contractors
- Provides a QR code for employees to quickly access the EEOC’s “how to file charge” webpage
- Utilizes straightforward language and bullet list formatting to make the poster easier to read and understand
What’s included on the “Know Your Rights” poster?
The poster is geared toward job applicants and employees. It tells them about the EEOC’s role in enforcing the federal laws that protect them from employment discrimination, and what they can do if they believe discrimination has occurred.
Below are the categories of information addressed in the poster.
Who is protected?
- Job applicants
- Current and former employees, including managers and temporary employees
- Union members
- Applicants for union membership
- Most private-sector employers
- State and local government employers
- Educational institution employers
- Staffing agencies
Types of employment discrimination that are illegal
Under EEOC laws, it is illegal to discriminate against applicants and employees on the basis on:
- National origin
- Sex, including pregnancy and related conditions, gender identity, or sexual orientation
- Age (40 or older)
- Genetic information, including the employer’s request, use, or disclosure of genetic tests or family medical history
- Retaliation for reasonably opposing discrimination, filing a discrimination charge, or participating in a legal discrimination proceeding (e.g., investigation or lawsuit)
Employment practices that can be challenged as discriminatory
All facets of employment are covered here, including:
- Work assignment
- Pay (e.g., unequal compensation)
- Firing, discharge, or layoff
- Employee benefits
- Failure to provide reasonable accommodations
- Job training
- Job classification
- Staff referrals
- Employees’ genetic information
- Employees’ medical information
- Conduct that could reasonably be construed as discouraging employees from opposing discrimination, filing a discrimination charge, or participating in a discrimination legal proceeding
What employees can do if they believe discrimination has happened
The “Know Your Rights” poster tells applicants and employees to contact the EEOC promptly if they suspect employment discrimination.
Additionally, the poster provides:
- The time limits for filing a discrimination charge
- A link to submit a discrimination charge via the EEOC’s public portal
- EEOC toll-free phone numbers
- Email address for the EEOC
- EEOC field office location
Other poster categories
- Information for applicants and employees of employers holding federal contracts or subcontracts
- Information on prohibiting discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance
What is the deadline for displaying the new poster?
The EEOC has not given a specific deadline for posting the updated “Know Your Rights” poster. That said, it’s in employers’ best interest to replace the older poster with the new one immediately.
Remember, covered employers should display the poster marked, “(Revised 10/20/2022),” not the one that was updated on October 19, 2022.
Where should employers display the poster?
Employers should display the poster in a conspicuous area of the workplace, where they usually post notices to applicants and employees. The EEOC recommends physically displaying the poster, plus digitally posting it on the company’s website, in an easy-to-spot location.
According to the EEOC, “In most cases, electronic posting supplements the physical posting requirement.” In remote work environments, electronic posting “may be the only posting.”
Keep in mind, the ADA requires employers to post anti-discrimination notices in an area that is accessible to applicants and employees with disabilities.
What languages is the poster available in?
The new “Know Your Rights” poster is currently available in English and Spanish. The EEOC says the poster will be translated in other languages at a later date.
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Where can employers access the new poster?
You can download the updated “Know Your Rights” poster (for free) on the EEOC’s website.
English and Spanish versions are available for:
- Screen readers/electronic posting
- (Physical) printing/posting in the workplace
Avoid discrimination charges and posting penalties
The “Know Your Rights” workplace discrimination poster serves as an educational tool for employees at all organizational levels. It not only spreads awareness about employees’ discrimination rights but also discourages discrimination by those in management roles. This helps to lower the risk of employees filing discrimination charges against the company.
Covered employers have a legal obligation to display the poster according to EEOC requirements. Failure to comply can result in a maximum penalty of $569 per posting violation.
Consult with your legal team if you have questions regarding the new EEOC anti-discrimination poster.