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EEOC Assists Small Businesses That Can't Afford Lawyers

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on April 12, 2016 1:58 PM

As any corporate lawyer knows, compliance can be a major business expense -- one so big that many businesses simply shoot first and pray for the best. The fact that federal employment and discrimination laws are so expansive means guaranteed job security for corporate lawyers.

But last month, the EEOC released a single page fact sheet that helps small start-ups get compliant quickly without the help of lawyers. Corporate lawyers may commence grumbling.

"Preventing Discrimination Is Good Business"

The newly released sheet provides bullet points of reference for both employees and employers. The sheet explains to business owners their obligations to comply with federal law and how they can prevent workplace discrimination. Some examples include providing equal pay to both men and women and prominently displaying federal anti-discrimination laws.

A good portion of the fact sheet is dedicated to preventing and resolving grievances. The EEOC provides information for employers who wish to attend training sessions, mediation sessions, or gain access to more posters with employment laws.

Apparently, Multi-linguilism Is Good Businesses, Too

The fact sheet will be made available in 30 different languages in order "to respond to the large number of small businesses across the country started by immigrants whose first language is not English."

Small Business Task Force: For the Little Guy

The sheet is the product of the EEOC's Small Business Task Force which was established in 2011 and charged with the task to "expand and enhance assistance to small businesses." According to the Commission's Constance S. Barker, the sheet will be the first in a series of products that the SBTF will be developing. Next up, small business owners can turn to YouTube. SBTF is working on a series of short online videos that are supposed to provide quick and easy answers sought by small businesses.

According to the EEOC, SBTF's aim is to provide assistance to those small business that are too small to afford a dedicated lawyer or human resource person.

"Startups and other small businesses continue to play an integral role in the strength of our nation's economy," said Commissioner Barker. "It is our responsibility at EEOC to help businesses understand their legal obligations under the complex and ever-changing federal employment discrimination laws and regulations," she said.

Of course, in-house lawyers have an incentive to keep compliance issues as intimidating-looking as possible. Perhaps you're a lawyer who feels like she might be jettisoned for a cheap piece of paper?

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