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EEOC Seeks to Educate Teens on Workplace Rights

Employers can take advantage of vulnerable employees in a number of ways. In a perfect world, all employers would respect the people who devote time and effort in service of their enterprise. However, employees are regularly subjected to various forms of employment discrimination; especially those employees who belong to protected classes or are otherwise more vulnerable than their fellow workers.

In an effort to combat discrimination inflicted among the nation's youngest workers, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently launched a campaign aimed at informing teenage employees about their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.

The Youth@Work campaign is currently providing free informational literature, videos and related manuals designed to empower teenage employees in the workplace. The educational materials were created for use in businesses, classrooms and within youth organizations.

The Chair of the EEOC recently explained that "As young people enter the workforce, it is important that they understand their rights and know how to respond if they experience or witness unlawful discrimination or harassment." As a result of this message, it is hoped that teens will increasingly be able to identify discrimination as it occurs and be inspired to stand up for their rights and the rights of others.

Given that teens generally have less experience in the workplace than older employees, it can be easy for employers to intimidate or otherwise manipulate these young workers. In addition, teen workers may not understand certain "rules" of the workplace. For example, in certain situations, refusing to follow the orders of their bosses is completely appropriate and within their legal rights. Educating young people is a critical step towards advancing equality and fairness in the workplace.

Source: Human Resource Executive Online, "EEOC Teaching Teens About their Workplace Rights," Kristen Frasch, Oct. 2, 2012

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