The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission protects employees from employer discrimination. However, not all employers are covered by the EEOC.
Private business employers, local and state agencies, labor unions and Join Apprenticeship Committees
These entities are all treated the same. To be covered, they must have at least 15 employees that have worked for them for at least 20 calendar weeks, which is analyzed from either the current or form year. Allowed discrimination complaints can be for disability, national origin, color, race, age (ages 40 and over), genetic information, like a family medical history, and sex. Sex includes pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Federal government agencies
For federal government agencies, unlike their private counterparts, there is no minimum employee requirement. However, each federal agency has their own discrimination reporting requirements that must be exhausted prior to filing an EEOC complaint.
Who counts as an employee?
A person counts as an employee if they worked for the employer for 20 calendar weeks in this year or last year. This includes both part-time and full-time employees, but not independent contractors. For those employers with multiple worksites, the employees can be counted collectively to meet the 15-employee threshold.
Who can file a complaint?
Filing an EEOC complaint is not limited to just employees. Indeed, any job applicant, trainee, former employee and apprentice can file a complaint with the EEOC. Nonetheless, for our Terrytown, New York, readers, please know that, even if one does not work for a covered employer, that does not mean that New York State does not have state discrimination laws that can be used instead.