EEOC Advises Employers on Hiring Youth

June 22, 2006 ( - The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published Wednesday tips for companies hiring young workers, calling for employers to promote fair, inclusive and discrimination-free workplaces.

As summer begins, we urge employers to heighten their awareness of workplace issues affecting our nation’s youth,” said EEOC Chair Cari Dominguez, in a press release. “Proactive prevention is the key to stopping employment discrimination before it starts.”

The Department of Labor reported that last summer more than seven million young people age 16-19 entered the US workforce, according to the release.

The agency offered employers the following tips:

  • Encourage open, positive and respectful interactions with young workers.
  • Remember that awareness, through early education and communication, is the key to prevention.
  • Establish a strong corporate policy for handling complaints.
  • Provide alternate avenues to report complaints and identify appropriate staff to contact.
  • Encourage young workers to come forward with concerns and protect employees who report problems or otherwise participate in EEO investigations from retaliation.
  • Post company policies on discrimination and complaint processing in visible locations, such as near the time clock or break area, or include the information in a young worker’s first paycheck.
  • Clearly communicate, update, and reinforce discrimination policies and procedures in a language and manner young workers can understand.
  • Provide early training to managers and employees, especially front-line supervisors.
  • Consider hosting an information seminar for the parents or guardians of teens working for the organization.

The EEOC’s Youth@Work initiative develops relationships with business and trade groups to identify trends and challenges affecting young people in the workplace, provides a youth Web site at (English) or (Spanish) dedicated to educating young workers about their equal employment opportunity rights and responsibilities, and offers a series of free national outreach events by EEOC Commissioners and field office staff for high school students, youth organizations, educators, and small businesses who employ young workers. Further information about the Youth@Work initiative and the laws enforced by the EEOC is available at .