EEOC to get more involved with small businesses

Thanks to a new internal task force, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will focus on expanding and refining outreach and technical assistance to small businesses. As stated in a mid-December announcement, the Small Business Task Force will “work to find ways in which the agency could better collaborate with the small business community to ensure compliance with federal antidiscrimination laws.”

On its to-do list:

=> Determine how to utilize new technology to broaden outreach
=> Develop technical assistance and training initiatives
=> Identify specialized approaches to aid small businesses owned by women and minorities
=> Pinpoint specialized approaches for micro businesses (those with 50 or fewer employees)
=> Enhance small business information and training on the EEOC’s website

As far as the types of businesses that will be on the EEOC's radar, the agency said the task force will focus on newly established small businesses, as well as those that can't afford lawyers or human resource personnel.

“The Task Force demonstrates our commitment to strengthening the lines of communication with small business owners and educating them about their responsibilities, including the benefits of preventing and resolving discrimination claims,” EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien said.

At the same time, the EEOC considers the task force to be particularly timely, citing that the nation's economic recovery depends on the ability of the small business community to survive and thrive. If there are new opportunities for the EEOC to better serve small businesses, it wants to identify and act on them.

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