The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a state organization which enforces federal anti-discrimination laws (Twomey & Jennings, 2010, p. 836). Even though there is a difference in application of these laws to firms of different sizes, the Commission’s website does not include much specific details for small businesses, comprising information for all kinds of organizations.
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A General Review of EEOC’s Website
The website of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides an opportunity to find the necessary information about discrimination for both employers and employees (U.S. EEOC, n.d.). The website is, in general, easy to navigate; there is a map of the website at the bottom of the main page, as well as a dropdown list which duplicates this information, and a search engine. The divisions of the map include sections for employees and applicants, employers, federal agencies, as well as some general information about the commission and about how to contact EEOC. The website is available in English and Spanish, as well as in six other languages (although the content on some of these pages has not been updated since 2003).
Website’s Materials for Small Businesses
Even though the general layout of the website appears to be easy to navigate, there is no specific section or subsection which applies to small businesses; the information present on the website is aimed at all the employers. Despite that, a page describing the “Employers” section states that the website “has been specifically designed for small businesses which may not have a human resources department or specialized EEO staff” (Employers, n.d., para. 7). It is stated that any representatives of small firms who wish to get information about the laws enforced by EEOC or ensure that they comply with the federal legislation should contact their local EEOC small business liaison to receive help with their issues.
Nevertheless, some pages related to small firms can be found via search engine or occasionally in different sections of the website. For instance, a page entitled “Get the Facts Series: Small Business Information” is to be found in “Publications” subsection of the “About EEOC” section (Get the facts series, n.d.). The page includes the information regarding the set of employees EEOC’s protection covers and the ways in which this protection is realized.
A page named “Questions and Answers for Small Businesses: The Final Rule Implementing the ADA Amendments Act of 2008” explains the essence of the named act and how it applies to small businesses, offering information that the latter may find useful while hiring new employees (Questions and answers for small businesses, n.d.).
On the website, there is also a press-release about an internal task force which was to work during 2012 to provide small businesses with assistance and help them to comply with federal laws aimed at prevention of discrimination (EEOC Launches Small Business Task Force, n.d.).
Therefore, the EEOC’s website does not address small business owners directly, but provides means to receive the necessary information via direct contact with the Commission’s officers.
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Surprising Moments of EEOC’s Website
While studying the website of EEOC, we found some facts surprising. In particular, “Get the Facts Series: Small Business Information” page reminds that some important anti-discrimination laws only cover companies with less than 15 or 20 employees (Get the facts series, n.d., para. 2). This fact is repeated on a number of other website’s pages. Despite that, there is no information about where to seek assistance if one is being discriminated in a small firm.
It should be noted that, according to Small business & entrepreneurship council (n.d.), firms that employ less than 20 workers accounted for 98% of all companies that provided jobs in 2011 (para. 1). Even though these firms employed only 17.9% of payrolls in the private sector in 2011, this is still a large number (Small business & entrepreneurship council, n.d., para. 5). So, even though this problem has its roots in the legislation system, we believe that the Commission should have included more information for such workers.
The Reason Why Small Businesses Are Treated Differently than Large Ones
Small businesses are treated differently by EEOC because, due to the lack of resources, it might be much more difficult for these firms to comply with both local and federal laws than for large or even medium-sized companies. Therefore, they might require assistance from state institutions; EEOC, as has been mentioned, provides a small business liaison for this purpose.
The Reasons for Difference in Legislation
The distinction between anti-discrimination laws for small and large businesses is likely to be caused by the difference in the amount of resources they possess. While it is possible for a large or middle-sized enterprise to pay compensation to a discriminated worker, a small business that employs less than a few tens of people might become insolvent in case of a large fine. Therefore, discriminated persons would have to directly sue the individual who offended them. On the other hand, such an approach is somewhat discriminative, itself, for it means that people have less opportunity to protect themselves if they work for a small firm.
As we have seen, the EEOC mainly concentrates on providing general information for workers and owners of businesses of all sizes; generally, it does not offer much specific information for large or small businesses. However, as there is difference in application of anti-discrimination laws to small and large businesses for which there exists a reason, the website differentiates between the two and offers small firms opportunity to get the necessary information through personal communication with the Commission’s officer.
EEOC Launches Small Business Task Force. (n.d.). Web.
Employers. (n.d.). Web.
Get the facts series: Small business information. (n.d.). Web.
Small business & entrepreneurship council. (n.d.) Small business facts. Web.
Twomey, D. P., & Jennings, M. M. (2010). Business law: Principles for today’s commercial environment (3rd ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
U.S. EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). (n.d.). Web.