The EEOC prevents discrimination in the workplace best when the incident is covered by the media.
Fairness in the workplace is monitored by the federal government. This is a vital part of the judicial system since it supports equal access to basic human rights. One of these rights is employment. In the workplace, you cannot discriminate against a person based on personal attributes. Therefore, the EEOC entity exists to prevent abuses by employers that refuse to adhere to the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) when hiring, firing, or with current employees.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulates and investigates occurrences of unfair treatment based on gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, veteran status, and more (EEOC, 2021). They enforce the federal laws that require employers to conduct fair and equal hiring for positions in their company. If you are unfairly terminated based on discrimination or experience harassment, the EEOC can become involved. Also, they provide guidance and conduct mandatory training for government agencies that are expected to enforce the law. Each person has the right to receive equal access to employment. Here's an example from the EEOC website of a case and its resolution.
In New York, a company intentionally disqualified an applicant for being deaf. This is discrimination based on disability; therefore, it is an EEOC violation. After applying for the job, the applicant answered a call using a telecommunications relay service. The company ignored the candidate's qualifications and denied an interview for the job. The EEOC pressed charges and took action to provide restitution. The case is ongoing but could include significant fines on the company for violating federal guidelines.
According to Syacruse.com article on the case, the manager at the warehouse requires a person to speak, read and write English. Upon receiving the person's application and conducting the interview via TTY, they stated that "they will not hire anyone with hearing impairments". This is against the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which requires equal access to employment. If you are qualified for the job, a company cannot refuse to hire you based on disability status.
Be dedicated to fair practices and inclusion by preventing discrimination before it happens. Provide DEI (Diversity, Equality, Inclusion) training to your staff. Dedicate a department to managing equity and social impact for the company. Require employee attendance to workshops to gain an understanding of the importance of diversity in the workplace. Inclusion begins with the leaders of your organization. Take it upon yourself to learn, attend training and be accountable if rules are not followed by you or your team.
Pay attention to employee comments. If there are repeatedly negative comments about the inconvenience of an employee because of their accommodations, take action. Human Resources needs to set in place consequences to prevent workplace abuses. Discrimination in the workplace is unavoidable. Often when you have visible or invisible disabilities doors will close. Some companies will refuse to hire you or refuse reasonable accommodations once hired. This is against the law and the EEOC takes action to enforce equality.
Also, do not underestimate the value of news coverage of the circumstances of discrimination based on disability shed light on the issue. Social change will happen with visibility of the problem. People need to hear the stories of others to improve their awareness of the ongoing discrimination in hiring practices for the disability community.
EEOC U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.” EEOC,
Rick Moriarty. “Feds Accuse Lysander Company of Discriminating against Deaf Job Applicant.” Syracuse, 26 Jan. 2021,
A revised version of our article written in our SOC315 class 2021.