In late October, the United States Equal Opportunity Commission announced the release of an updated “Know Your Rights Workplace Poster.” The new poster replaces the previous version of the notice titled the “Equal Employment Opportunity Is the Law”poster.
Employers covered by Federal anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, are required to display a notice regarding at their work sites. The purpose of the poster is to provide a summary of these laws and inform employees of their rights, and in turn, advance the EEOC’s mission to prevent unlawful employment discrimination and remedy discrimination when it occurs.
There was some concern by the EEOC that the prior version may have been too dense and/or confusing to workers and employers. To remedy these issues, the EEOC sought to prepare and publish a new poster that sued “plain language and bullet points” that would make “it easier for employers to understand their legal responsibilities and for workers to understand their legal rights and how to contact EEOC for assistance.” To that end, the new “Know Your Rights” poster:
- Uses straightforward language and formatting;
- Specifies that harassment is a prohibited form of discrimination;
- Clarifies that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity; and
- Provides information about equal pay discrimination for federal contractors.
In these ways, the updated notice sets out clearly and unambiguously, in black and white, that employees working for covered employers cannot be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, age (40 and older), disability, unequal pay, and genetic information (including family medical history or genetic tests or services). It also reminds employers and employees that Federal EEO laws prohibit retaliation for filing a charge, reasonably opposing discrimination, or participating in a discrimination lawsuit, investigation, or proceeding. The poster also explains how employees may file a formal complaint if they believe they have been discriminated against. Newly added to this EEOC notice is a QR code that allows fast digital access directly to the EEOC’s how to file a charge webpage
The poster is available in English and Spanish (with additional languages expected shortly), formatted for print and physical posting, electronic posting and, optimized for screen readers. Here is every version:
- For printing/posting – English
- For printing/posting – Spanish
- For Electronic Posting – English
- For Electronic Posting – Spanish
- For Screen Readers
So, what must employers do now?
Covered employers (those with 15 or more employees for Title VII and the ADA and those with 20 or more employees for the ADEA) who had the prior version posted in the workplaces, should take that old notice down.
They should physically post the new notice in a conspicuous location in the workplace. The new EEOC notice should be posted in the same location that other notices to applicants and employees are customarily posted, for example on an employee bulletin board near where employees clock in.
The notice should also be made available in a location that is accessible to applicants and employees with disabilities that limit mobility, as required by the ADA.
Finally, employers are encouraged to post a notice digitally on their websites in a conspicuous location. Electronic posting supplements the physical posting requirement. In some situations (for example, for employers without a physical location or for employees who telework or work remotely and do not visit the employer’s workplace on a regular basis), it may be the only posting.
Employers also should make sure that going forward they use the correct, most updated version of the new poster. It will be marked “Revised 10/20/2022”. The EEOC released a version on October 19, 2022 that was incorrect and should NOT be posted.
The EEOC provided no specific deadline to display the new notice, stating simply that it needed to be posted “within a reasonable amount of time.” With that said, employers are well-advised to change out their posters ASAP. Covered employers are subject to fines (over $500 for each incidence of noncompliance)
While they are at it, employers should also make sure that they have complied with all other notice requirements, and that they have posted in their workplaces all applicable state and federal notices. Those may include but are not limited notices concerning unemployment, workers’ compensation, wage and hour laws and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).