What is equal employment opportunity?
As a brief historical note, I hasten to report that for the first time, the concept of equal employment opportunity (EEO) was formulated in the United States in 1964, just when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was formed.
According to this principle, every worker must have equal access to merit-based employment opportunities. Moreover, this equal access must be given without fear of harassment or discrimination of any kind. In other words, employers cannot use specific grounds to reject a candidate or fire or infringe on an employee.
Equal employment opportunities are backed by numerous laws that may vary from country to country. For example, there are laws on human rights, gender, age or racial discrimination, discrimination against the disabled, and so on. Such laws are one of the primary sources of employers’ obligations under the EEO.
Thus, there is an impressive list of grounds on which employers must not discriminate against their employees. They include the following:
- skin color;
- sexual orientation;
- marital status, including family and guardianship responsibilities;
- all kinds of disabilities;
- political views;
In addition, employers must not fire their workers or take adverse action against them, like demotions, unauthorized pay cuts, or disciplinary proceedings, based on any factor covered by the anti-discrimination laws.