Welcome to the first-ever Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Unit’s blog post! Our hope is to provide you with more insight into the world of EEO and to assist you in creating a workplace where there is inclusion, equity, and fairness for ALL.
Let’s start with an understanding of what EEO is (and what it’s not) and why it’s still needed in the year 2019.
The foundation of the United States was built upon the phrase “All men are created equal” and that each person is born with certain unalienable rights, but at that time, this included only men. Since then, we as a nation have been striving to perfect this premise by changing our laws and policies to be more inclusive for all. These laws specifically tell us certain factors we cannot consider when making decisions that affect others. These factors are called protected class categories. Chances are that at some point in life, everyone can relate and be a part of one or more of the protected classes as they include: race; color; religious creed; age; sex; pregnancy; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; marital status; national origin; ancestry; intellectual disability; genetic information; learning disability; physical disability (including ,but not limited to, blindness); mental disability (past/present history thereof); military or veteran status; or criminal record (in state employment).
The EEO unit ensures that DAS and the agencies that we provide services to, comply with federal, state and local affirmative action and equal opportunity laws, as well as the agency’s non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. Our role is to prevent discrimination before it occurs through outreach, education, and monitoring of the agency’s employment practices. By implementing preventive measures, we help create a work environment where our staff feels valued and respected. This helps build and strengthen our workforce by attracting a diverse group of applicants to open positions, ensures that we get the best-qualified person for the job so they are able to deliver top-notch service to the State of Connecticut.
When an individual believes they have been discriminated against in the workplace, our unit may conduct an internal investigation into their complaint. Complainants can be agency staff, clients, vendors, applicants, and visitors that interact with our agency. Our role in an investigation is to fairly and accurately assess the allegations and then make a finding based upon the facts. If we find that an EEO Policy violation has occurred, we make recommendations to the head of the agency to inhibit further discriminatory behavior or practice. By conducting an internal investigation, we help save the State from having to resolve the complaint through time-consuming and often costly litigation.
You might be thinking, “But it’s the year 2019 most people understand not to discriminate or give preferential treatment in employment because of their protected class(es).” Think again. Just recently in the news, a company called Cynet Systems, which specializes in technology staffing, posted a job opening at the end of April 2019, on behalf of a pharmaceutical company in Tampa, Fla., that was seeking "preferably Caucasian applicants with good technical backgrounds and eight to 10 years of experience for a full-time account manager position.” Cynet Systems quickly removed the posting once it was brought to their attention and issued an apology. As we mentioned earlier, our job is to monitor the employment practices within DAS, which includes reviewing job postings before they are officially posted. Having someone carefully review language used in the job postings helps prevent discriminatory practices and mitigates potential damage to our State’s reputation that may hurt us from recruiting the most skilled applicants. And let’s not forget, this prevents costly litigation.
Thanks again for taking a peak at our first post and be on the lookout for more to come!