If you intend to bid for contracts with the federal, state, or local governments you will have to comply with equal employment opportunity laws and regulations. These laws are in place to ensure contractors and subcontractors comply with good faith efforts to meet affirmative action goals.
An equal opportunity clause in a contractor agreement declares your intent to follow laws and regulations. At a minimum, it states that the contractor will not discriminate against an employee on the basis of race, religion, national origin, disability, color, sex or protected veterans.
In addition, the clause ought to be clear that all hiring and employment decisions, policies, programs, and practices are disclosed and made available for employee’s awareness.
Depending on whether you’re bidding on federal government, state, or local contracts, there can be specific language that is required based on several factors to include the monetary value of the project, how many employees or subcontractors will be utilized, and the size of the purchase order.
It’s vital that your company keep employment-related documentation, provide posters for employee awareness, and provide proof of ongoing affirmative action efforts to avoid violations of the law and stay in compliance.
If you omit this clause, you may be in violation of equal opportunity employment laws. Many contractors do not know about their legal obligations until it’s too late.
You don’t want to find out when the government initiates an audit that you’re not in compliance.
There are consequences for not abiding by the law. If you don’t know if you meet the requirements of the regulations or not, you should contact an employment lawyer who has experience in this specialized area of law.
Avoid Retaliation at All Costs
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is charged with ensuring compliance. One of the most commonly filed complaints the EEOC gets is retaliation complaints from employees.
Employees have the legal protected rights to:
- Contact the EEOC to report discrimination. Keep in mind the employee does not need to be the person who is discriminated against to file a complaint.
- Communicate with management. Employees have the right to consult with management about any incident of discrimination without fear of reprisal.
- In an employer is investigating harassment, an employee has a right to answer questions specific to the investigation without fear of reprisal.
- If an employee has a disability that doesn’t prevent them from doing their job, they have a right to request accommodations. The same is held true for their religious beliefs.
- Employees that intervene to stop a discriminatory act are protected from retaliation as well.
Again, contact an experienced employment lawyer to ensure you are in full compliance with the law.