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An equal employment opportunity officer has the essential function of ensuring that the company does not discriminate against employees based on sex, race, gender, origin or other legally protected groups. Any company that advertises to applicants that it is an equal opportunity employer has a stake in making sure that they are, indeed, upholding this standard. EEO officers work in higher-education institutions, such as colleges and universities, for government offices and for large corporations. EEO officers are typically part of the human resources office.
Assuring Diversity in Employement
The EEO officer must ensure that the organization's employees are representative of the community it serves. For example, if a company is serving a racially diverse population, the whole of company employees must not be dominantly of one race or another.
Assuring Legal Compliance in Hiring
It is the EEO officer’s duty to make sure that the hiring process is free of bias discrimination. An example of such discrimination would be avoiding the hiring of a female because she might get pregnant and have to take maternal leave, forcing the company to either hire a temporary employee or place that individual’s tasks on others.
Creating Equal Opportunity Programs
The EEO officer is also responsible for implementing and overseeing affirmative action and EEO programs, which make sure the company is in compliance with federal and state regulations. This would include reporting employee statistics to the government, providing accommodating for employees with disabilities, and creating meaningful diversity initiatives and activities for employees.
Implementing Proactive Policies
The EEO officer must create and enforce a system for dealing with EEO violations even before they happen. In addition, he may be involved in training employees regarding the system.
Handling Equal Opportunity Complaints
Even the best regulations against discrimination don't prevent it entirely. When an employee makes a discrimination claim, the EEO officer is responsible for filing a formal complaint, investigating the matter and resolving it.
Mariam Ayad is a graduate of the University of Missouri, where she earned a B.A. in journalism. She has written articles for publications around the United States, including "The Index" in Kirksville, Mo., "The Columbia Missourian" and "Vox Magazine" in Columbia, Mo., "Secaucus Progress" in Secaucus, N.J. and "The Jersey Journal" in Jersey City, N.J. Ayad currently writes for Blountville Journal in Blountville, Tenn.