EEOC More Than Doubles Fines for Posting Violations

By Dana Wilkie Jun 3, 2016
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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is more than doubling the monetary fines for employers that fail to properly post federal laws that protect workers from discrimination.

The EEOC announced the penalty hike on June 2 in the Federal Register, and the new fines will take effect in 30 days.

The maximum penalty for violating the posting requirements will now be $525, more than double the previous maximum of $210.

Employers covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act must post notices describing the key provisions of these acts in “prominent and accessible” spots in the workplace, according to the EEOC. The requirement applies to private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions employing 15 or more individuals, as well as to federal contractors and subcontractors.

The EEOC first adjusted the penalty for violations in 1997, when it raised the maximum penalty per violation from $100 to $110. The EEOC’s second adjustment was announced in 2014, raising the maximum penalty per violation from $110 to $210. The adjustments are part of a legally-required periodic review on possible adjustments for inflation.

“The purpose of the adjustment is to maintain the remedial impact of civil monetary penalties and promote compliance with the law,” the EEOC said in its announcement.

Christine Nazer, an EEOC spokeswoman, said the commission is not increasing the fine because it has found increased cases of violations. She did say that employers typically are fined because they fail to post the notice, not because they posted it in an inaccessible place. Usually, she said, workers bring the violation to the EEOC’s attention.

“We would find an employer not being in compliance based on an investigation of a charge,” she said. “In those instances… we have pursued [an investigation] because the employer has failed to post the notice. No one here can think of an instance where we thought the poster was not in an accessible place.”

Dana Wilkie is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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