A hiring manager shakes hands with a candidate in a wheelchair

What Is an Equal Opportunity Employer?

5 min read | Feb 26, 2024
 Marta Gongos- Ad Culture By Marta Gongos

Today’s modern workforce has paved the way for a new concept to take root in many companies and organizations: Equal Opportunity Employment (EOE).

But what is an equal opportunity employer (EEO), and how does being one impact your business? Does it make hiring talents easier?

Let’s discuss.

Essentially, an equal-opportunity employer evaluates and hires candidates based on skills and merit alone—no other factor. They set an equal working ground for employees, fairly training, compensating, and promoting them based on their professional performance.

Using the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) as the main framework to follow against employment discrimination, a company pledges to provide opportunities to a job applicant, regardless of their:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Genetic information
  • Race
  • Religious beliefs
  • National origin
  • Sexual orientation
  • Physical and mental disability
  • Veteran status
  • Socioeconomic status

The Equal Pay Act in Canada establishes “equal pay for work of equal value.” If two different roles provide equal value to the business’s operations, then employees of said roles should also receive equal pay.

Meanwhile, the Employment Equity Act is a federal law requiring businesses to ensure that the following groups receive equal employment opportunities and are not discriminated against:

  • Women;
  • Indigenous Peoples;
  • People with disabilities; and
  • Members of visible minority communities.

 A piece of paper with the words “Equal Employment Opportunity Commission” written on them

Image source: Canva

Abiding by these laws means being an equal employment business. You must ensure your company’s vision and brand align with the relevant laws and work toward protecting employees against unfair treatment. You can send out a strong message by crafting a compelling equal-opportunity employment statement.

✍️ Read more: How to Write an Equal Opportunity Employer Statement

The Benefits of Being an Equal Opportunity Employer

Cultivates an Inclusive and Diverse Workforce

A significant advantage of being an equal opportunity employer is having a diverse and inclusive team. Demonstrating a workforce with talent from varying backgrounds not only increases employee retention but also attracts more job seekers, widening your pool of applicants each time you have a vacant position.

Moreover, having a diverse workforce improves employee morale. 76% of potential employees check to see if a company has an inclusive and diverse workplace environment before evaluating and accepting job offers.

Avoids Legal Risks

Regulations and laws protect employees against discrimination. Non-compliance would render your company vulnerable to penalties or worse, costly court cases. A single discrimination lawsuit could also damage your brand and reputation for good.

Committing to providing equal and fair opportunities for all job applicants reduces these legal risks. It demonstrates your adherence to ethical employment and business practices, two crucial factors most candidates consider in a company.

Strengthens Your Reputation

With how rapidly news gets around on social media, it’s no surprise that a single complaint against your company could ruin your reputation as an employer. This is why it’s crucial to establish a strong brand that advocates for equal employment opportunity and backs it up with a reputation for upholding such practices.

Internally, practicing these ethical business practices establishes a stronger bond between you, your employees, your clients, and key stakeholders.

Improves Employee Engagement

Ensuring continuous employee engagement was a major concern for many organizations during the pandemic. It’s still prevalent in many businesses that have difficulty retaining employees today, especially if they operate in a remote or hybrid setup.

A group of employees listening to a team member in a wheelchair, who is leading a meeting

Image source: Canva

As an EEO employer, you gain employees who appreciate your policies and thus are more likely to engage with your company. This influences your workplace culture, too, as it promotes a safe and welcoming environment for all, ensuring better employee retention and engagement in the process.

Read more: How to Keep Employees Engaged and Motivated During a Recession

Secures a Diverse Pool of Talents

Being an equal opportunity employer means ensuring every candidate is treated fairly during the hiring process. They must be assessed and recruited based on merit and the company’s needs and requirements alone.

By ensuring everyone is assessed fairly, you can now focus on evaluating and hiring talent based on their skills and abilities. This ensures you can measure their qualifications better and consider the top candidates who can contribute significantly to the company instead.

Cultivate Diverse Teams With Ad Culture

Employees are the heart of every company. That’s why it’s important to hire the right people who bring the right talent and the right culture to your organization. And there’s no better way to do that than by hiring without bias and providing equal opportunities to all.

Wondering how to do that? Better recruitment starts with Ad Culture.

We are a premier Toronto-based recruitment agency that connects “unicorn” talents with equal opportunity employers (like yourself!) looking to hire talent in marketing, advertising, web design and development, and communication.

Need assistance becoming an equal opportunity employer? Contact us today, and we’ll help you build a diverse and inclusive workforce!

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