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EEO Training for Managers and Supervisors

By Toni Ahl - Apr 17, 2024 2:27:53 PM - 3 MINS READ

OutSolve’s EEO colleague, Toni Ahl, is an occasional contributor to our blog. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to Toni and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of OutSolve or its employees.

It has been my experience while working for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that a change in supervision can create the perception of discrimination. New managers and supervisors often have different communication styles and interpret policies differently. One other observation is that many new managers and supervisors are not given training in the area of equal employment opportunity (EEO).

Frequently it seems that employees are promoted into managerial positions because of their abilities to perform the essential functions of their current positions. Rather than considering the potential managerial skills of the candidate, only those performance-related skills are evaluated during the promotion and hiring process. Although it's important for a manager or supervisor to understand the essential functions of the job, people skills are also important. Having a training program for managers and supervisors may help to reduce the possibility of problems in the future.

Including training in equal employment opportunity may help avert charges in the future. If managers and supervisors understand the bases of discrimination and the theories of discrimination, they may make better and more informed decisions about how to handle situations in their work groups. A day of training may save the company quite a bit of money in the future.

Let's look at an example of how a manager or supervisor may cost the company. If an employee requests a reasonable accommodation, whether it is for a disability, pregnancy, or any religious matter, and the manager or supervisor is not aware of the affirmative duty for the company to provide an accommodation and denies the request at once, the employee may go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and allege discrimination by the company due to a denial of a reasonable accommodation. And, if the supervisor or manager takes any retaliatory action against the employee for requesting an accommodation, that may result in a finding of discrimination due to retaliation. The standard for finding discrimination for retaliation is that the action taken by the employer is likely to deter the employee from exercising their federally protected rights.

Another example could be coworker harassment that could cause issues if the supervisor or manager does not step in to stop the conduct. If a supervisor or manager is aware of the protected bases, they are equipped to know when to step in and end those types of comments. Remember that even if the participants in the conversation are not offended by the comments, other coworkers may be and have a right to work in a place that is free of harassment.

Including equal employment opportunity in orientation for new managers or supervisors may be a good investment for employers to make. In the long run, it could pay off in a big way. And, conducting annual training for all managers and supervisors is a good idea. As we know, the state of the law is ever-changing and these changes can affect the bases covered as well as how the law is applied.

If you would like information about training for managers and supervisors, please reach out to me at eeoadvantage@gmail.com or 502.553.7648.

Toni Ahl

President at EEO Advantage, LLC

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