Have you ever heard someone saying… “I am so making an EEO complain against so-and-so?” If you have and want to know exactly what that person is talking about; continue reading because those words mean that someone is about to get in trouble. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws prohibit specific types of job discrimination in workplaces, which includes discriminatory acts based upon an employee’s or applicant’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
One of the most used lines in EEO talks is the famous “It is not what your intentions were, but how the other person perceived it.” This simple statement is very true, especially when we are dealing with people’s relationships within the working environment. There has been many times when a person said or did something that, at the moment, felt like it was the right thing to say or do, to just found out later that what he said or did, not only hurt someone’s feeling, but also created an EEO incident that could have cost him his own job.
Below, I will share with you five (5) of the most common mistakes people make that could easily caused them to get EEO complaint charges filed against them:
1) Jokes and/or comments about someone’s appearance, especially when it includes sexual content.
2) Direct or indirect harassment based on the race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age of the individual.
3) Calling another employee baby, honey, dear, etc.
4) Any form of unwelcomed sexual advance to another employee.
5) Retaliation against an employee who filed a complaint against a supervisor or a co-worker. According to The Multicultural Advantage website, “Retaliation charges make up approx. 28% of all of EEO’s charges.”
EEO rules and regulations are very simple and easy to understand and, in most cases, these policies are among the first documents an employee is asked to review and sign during their in processing at a new job. The problem is that no all the employees take the necessary time to review these rules because they think that they will never have to use them or they don’t have to worry about it because they will never break them.
That is when the problems start; when people start thinking… “That will never happen to me.” Let me give you a piece of advice, my dear friends; you better read those rules when they are given to you because believe me when I say this; either you want to believe it or not, an EEO complain is something that could easily happen to you if you aren’t aware of what is acceptable or not in your particular workplace. Remember; saying “I didn’t know” or “I was just joking” will not help you during an EEO investigation if is proven that you were fully aware of the rules and policies.
Finally, yet importantly; also remember that when you are dealing with other people… “It is not what the intentions of your actions were, but how the other person perceived the message you tried to transmit to them.”