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EEOC creates Small Business Task Force to provide legal, HR counsel

EEOC creates Small Business Task Force to provide legal, HR counsel

WASHINGTON—A new federal task force will expand and improve outreach and technical assistance for small and developing businesses on matters of anti-discrimination employment laws.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on Thursday that it has launched an internal task force comprising EEOC district directors in Alabama, California and North Carolina, as well as officials from the agency's field programs, general counsel, communications and legislative affairs offices.

According to an EEOC statement released Thursday, the new task force—to be headed by EEOC Commissioner Constance S. Barker—will be charged with developing recommendations for expanding the agency's outreach to small businesses through utilization of new technology, technical assistance and training initiatives, specialized programs designed for women- and minority-owned businesses, and enhancements to the agency's small business Web tools.

Primarily, the task force will focus on newly established small businesses and those that cannot afford in-house legal counsel or human resources personnel, according to the EEOC.

“I am pleased that Commissioner Barker is leading this important effort to assist small businesses in complying with the laws and regulations enforced by the EEOC,” EEOC Chairwoman Jacqueline A. Berrien said in the agency's statement. “The Task Force demonstrates our commitment to strengthening the lines of communication with small business owners and educating them about their responsibilities, including the benefits of preventing and resolving discrimination claims.”

“This task force is particularly timely because America's economic recovery depends to a large extent on the ability of small business to continue to thrive and to grow their businesses,” Ms. Barker said. “It is appropriate that we take a fresh look at our interactions with the small business community to see if we can better serve them.”

The EEOC said the task force's first set of recommendations could be delivered as early as next year.