On October 19, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a new poster that covered employers are required to display in their workplaces entitled “Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal,” which updates and replaces its previous “Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law” poster. According to the EEOC, the poster uses plain language and bullet points that will make it easier for employers and employees to understand their rights and obligations.
The EEOC stated that the “Know Your Rights” poster informs employers and employees about discrimination based on:
- “Race, color, sex (including pregnancy and related conditions, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, religion,
- Age (40 and older),
- Equal Pay,
- Genetic information (including family medical history or genetic tests or services), and includes
- Retaliation for filing an EEOC charge, reasonably opposing discrimination, or participating in a discrimination lawsuit, investigation, or proceeding.”
The new poster also makes some substantive updates from the previous poster, specifying: (1) that harassment is a prohibited form of discrimination; and (2) that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on pregnancy and related conditions, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The poster further provides a new notice of the pay secrecy requirements for federal contractors under Executive Order 11246, which was formerly part of a required EEO is the Law Poster Supplement.
The new poster features internet links and email addresses for employees to contact the EEOC if they suspect they have been the victim of prohibited discrimination. It also includes a QR code that links directly to an EEOC website with instructions for how to file workplace discrimination charge with the EEOC.
In addition to the requirement that employers physically post the notice in a conspicuous location in their workplaces, the EEOC “encouraged” covered employers to “post a notice digitally on their websites in a conspicuous location.” The agency noted that employees without a physical work location or who work remotely may not have an opportunity to view the physical posting.
In a recent statement, EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows called the new poster a “win-win for employers and workers alike” and said that the “plain language and bullet points” will make it “easier for employers to understand their legal responsibilities and for workers to understand their legal rights and how to contact the EEOC for assistance.”
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has long required covered employers to conspicuously post summaries of applicable federal labor and employment laws, which employers have traditionally posted in break rooms or cafeterias. Some employers argue that such notice and posting requirements have become anachronistic, particularly with more employees working remotely. Nevertheless, the DOL in January 2022, increased the maximum fines for noncompliance with certain notice and posting requirements, highlighting the need for employers to understand these rules. And, with issuance of the new poster, the EEOC noted that covered employers may be subject to fines for noncompliance with the posting requirements.
Notably, the EEOC’s new “Know Your Rights” poster makes a couple of specific updates to adapt to new technology, adding a QR code that easily links to information on making a workplace discrimination charge and encouraging employers to post a notice on their websites. It remains to be seen whether the number of charges filed will increase as a result, particularly as the total number of EEOC charges has been steadily decreasing each year since 2016. (Retaliation continues to be the most frequently filed type of EEOC charge.)
The EEOC provided links to PDF versions of the poster in English and Spanish for employers to print, in addition to PDF and HTML versions of the poster optimized for viewing on a computer screen for electronic posting. The EEOC said posters in additional languages will be made available at a later date.
Employers may further want to consider any other unique posting requirements under other applicable federal or state laws. Links to additional applicable posters for employers to download and print can be found on the DOL’s website.
Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to federal notice and posting requirements and will post updates on the firm’s Employment Law blog. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.
Editor’s Note: On October 20, 2022, the EEOC revised its newly released poster. Our article, “EEOC Issues Revised Version of New Rights Poster,” has further details.