Business owners have many responsibilities, including deciding where to operate, how many employees to hire and what items to sell. As an employer, they also have an important obligation to maintain a workplace free from discrimination.
It is against the law for employers to discriminate against an applicant or employee because of that person’s race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability or genetic information. Discrimination is against the law in every aspect of employment. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces these laws.
Advertisements and hiring
Employers may not publish job advertisements that demonstrate a preference for or discourages a person from applying because of one of the protected categories listed above.
They may also not base hiring decisions on those categories. If an employer requires the applicant to take a test, it must be necessary, related to the job and non-discriminatory.
Pay and accommodations
It is also against the law for an employer to discriminate against an employee in payment of wages or benefits. Employee benefits include sick leave, vacation time, insurance, overtime and retirement programs.
Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee or applicant with a disability, unless it would cause the employer significant difficulty or expense. Accommodations include changes that will help the person with a disability apply for a job, perform the work or participate in the benefits and privileges of the employment.
These are only some examples of the rules employers are required to comply with. It’s important that employers understand the requirements and apply them to their business properly. An experienced attorney can help business owners understand their obligations.