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EEOC: Deterring discrimination

Indiana businesses and employees will be interested to learn that the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has recently been pursuing cases against large corporations in hopes of deterring discrimination on a grander scale.

This agency, which is the U.S. government agency responsible for enforcing national employment laws, has found that its efforts create a more memorable impact when it pursues well-known employers suspected of workplace discrimination. During Obama's time in office, this has included companies such as Walmart, Denny's and Verizon.

In its efforts, the EEOC has been able to shed light on widespread discrimination by some businesses that affect dozens or even hundreds of employees. This has sent the message that discrimination in the workplace will not be tolerated.

On the other hand, some businesses and lawmakers have complained that the agency is overstepping its boundaries. Because it is often cheaper in the long run for a company to settle with the EEOC rather than litigate in court, some have claimed that businesses not guilty of suspected discrimination nevertheless appear guilty when they agree to make cash settlements.

Even so, the EEOC claims that the agency's job is to enforce anti-discrimination laws, however it chooses to do so. Under U.S. statute, an employer may not discriminate against an employee on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex. Businesses that engage in discrimination, no matter their size or repute, should be made to answer for violating this law.

If you think that you have been discriminated against by your employer, you may want to speak to an attorney about your legal options.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Government turns heat on employers over job bias," Sam Hananel, Aug. 16, 2012

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