Most employers and employees are familiar with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as it is the agency that enforces federal employee civil rights. However, what many people do not know is that the EEOC does not enforce those laws against every employer. Instead, those laws only apply to covered employers. Whether an employer is covered is based on the type of employer and how many employees that employer employs. Of course, there are other factors that control whether one has a legal claim for employment discrimination, but this post will only cover which employers are covered by the EEOC.
Business and private employers
Complaints against businesses can be based on genetic and familial medical history, national origin, disability, religion, color, age (for those 40-years-old and older), race and sex, including pregnancy, gender identity and sexual orientation. Though, the employer must have at least 15 employees that worked for the employer for at least 20 calendar weeks, which is calculated based on the current or prior year.
Non-federal government agencies
Similar to private businesses, discrimination claims against non-federal government agencies, like state and local municipalities, can be based on the prior list of protected classes. In addition, they too need just 15 employees that worked at least 20 weeks.
Federal government agencies
For federal employers, there is no minimum employee requirement, but all federal agencies are covered. Federal employees and applicants have a different complaint process from other employees that may differ for each agency.
The term, “employment agency” refers to those businesses that engage in temporary staffing or permanent recruiting for other companies and business. They are treated like any other business, except it does not matter how many employees they employ.
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These are treated the same as any other business. This includes the allowed discrimination claims and the 15-employer requirement. For our Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky, readers, the key take away is that only the smallest of businesses are not covered by the EEOC.