As companies across all industries ramp up their equality and inclusivity policies, the term “equal opportunity employer” has been gaining traction over the past decade.
And rightly so! Becoming an equal opportunity employer not only allows your company to attract diverse talent but also boosts your employer brand and increases the company’s employee retention rate.
Plus, surveys show that 78% of job seekers prefer working for a company that is committed to diversity and inclusion.
And when your company is dedicated to upholding employee rights and fairness, they will naturally feel more loyal to the company and experience a better engagement rate at work.
However, simply adding a tag of equal opportunity employer to your organization is not how it works. Meaning there are some legal procedures that your company must follow and uphold.
Read on to learn more about becoming an equal opportunity employer and get clarity on related FAQs like the following:
- What does it mean to be an equal opportunity employer?
- Why are equal opportunities important in the workplace?
- How do you create equal opportunities in the workplace?
- What is an equal opportunity employer statement?
What Is an Equal Opportunity Employer?
An equal opportunity employer is an organization that is committed to providing unbiased and fair work opportunities to job seekers irrespective of their race, age, gender, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
In many countries, equal employment opportunity is upheld, implemented, and protected by legal laws and regulatory bodies.
For instance, in the US, although it is not mandatory for companies to avail the “equal opportunity employer” tag, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) upholds the following laws that companies must follow:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
- Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
- Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)
Why Is Equal Opportunities Important in the Workplace?
Having EEO compliant policies provides plenty of benefits to your company in the short and long term.
For starters, it allows your company to tap into a diverse and vast pool of qualified candidates who can add immense value to the workforce.
Plus, when your employees have the trust and confidence that they will be offered fair chances at promotions and other growth opportunities, their productivity and job satisfaction increase.
Studies show that companies with a diverse workforce have a 12% higher employee performance rate. When workers have a high sense of belonging, it can increase their job performance by 56% or more, reduce company turnover by 50%, and substantially decrease the number of leaves.
The following are some more reasons why your company should consider being an equal opportunity employer:
- Reduces workplace complaints, conflicts, and lawsuits, reducing legal expenses and staff time spent investigating workplace conflicts.
- Solidifies a company’s morals and ethics to help build a positive company image in the industry that investors and clients can trust.
- Significantly increases employee engagement rate as 83% of millennials are more actively engaged in their work when their employers support diversity and inclusivity initiatives.
- With cognitive diversity, companies can make better decisions and come up with 20% more innovative ideas.
How To Become an Equal Opportunity Employer?
Besides doing the internal work within the organization like training human resource teams and other employees on equal employment opportunity laws and fostering open communication, there are some legal steps that your company must take to become an equal opportunity employer.
The general criteria for companies to become EEO compliant is that it has to have more than 14 employees and should not be a religious organization.
Listed below are some steps to help your company become an equal opportunity employer:
File an EEO-1 Report
The EE0-1 report is an official report that companies must submit to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on an annual basis.
The report must include accurate employment data of employees categorized by ethnicity, gender, and role.
Ensure that your company’s HR team collects and submits precise data as even minor mistakes can give way to fines and other legal troubles, including imprisonment.
Comply with the EEOC Guidelines
While the EEOC guidelines may be straightforward, building an action plan around it is crucial for individual companies.
This means your company’s HR department and policymakers must thoroughly understand the EEOC laws and their implications.
Any deviation or fault can lead to an EEO complaint, which can further lead to a lawsuit.
Write an Equal Opportunity Employer Statement
An equal opportunity employer statement is similar to a tagline of a company that declares its commitment to providing unbiased job opportunities and also hints at the work culture that your company aspires to have.
This statement will be a part of your job postings, encouraging applicants from all backgrounds to apply for the vacancy.
Given below are some equal opportunity employer statement samples of renowned companies:
Google: “At Google, we don’t just accept difference - we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it for the benefit of our employees, our products, and our community. Google is an equal opportunity employer. Employment at Google is based solely on a person's merit and qualifications directly related to professional competence. Google does not discriminate against any employee or applicant because of race, creed, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, or related condition (including breastfeeding), or any other basis protected by law.”
Netflix: “Netflix’s greatest impact is creating empathy and understanding through the stories we tell. We believe more people deserve to see their lives on-screen and are committed to creating opportunities in front of and behind the camera for people from all backgrounds and cultures.”
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Key Points from the Blog
- An equal opportunity employer is an organization that is committed to providing unbiased and fair work opportunities to job seekers irrespective of their race, age, gender, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
- Being an equal opportunity employer increases the employees' productivity, engagement, and job satisfaction rate.
- With a cognitive diversity, companies can make better decisions and come up with 20% more innovative ideas.
- The general criteria for companies to become EEO compliant is that it has to have more than 14 employees and should not be a religious organization.
- EEO-1 report must include accurate employment data of employees categorized by ethnicity, gender, and role.
- Ensure that your company’s EEO statement is concise, easy to understand, and to the point. Avoid using legal jargon and stick to neutral language.
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