In a hearing of the House Education and Labor subcommittee, lawmakers uniformly agreed that the nation’s workplace anti-discrimination laws should be fully enforced. That said, some raised concerns about changes at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
Among those changes have been a reduction in the number of investigations and enforcement actions and an end to the collection of categorized pay data through the annual EEO-1 survey.
The EEOC enforces federal anti-discrimination laws as they apply to private and government employers. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, age (over 40), disability, pregnancy or genetic information.
THE OFCCP enforces federal anti-discrimination policies that apply to companies contracting with the U.S. government regardless of whether other anti-discrimination laws also apply. These prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and protected veteran status.
EEOC collection of EEO-1 Component 2 data ends this year
The EEOC has just finished collecting detailed pay data from all employers with 100 or more employees. This pay data has been broken down by job category, race, gender and ethnicity, and is gathered through Component 2 of the annual EEO-1 survey. Although this data was previously said to be necessary to enforce our anti-discrimination laws, its collection has been eliminated by the Paperwork Reduction Act.
According to the EEOC’s chair, the agency is required by court order to collect this data for 2017 and 2018. However, it has no plans to continue doing so in the future and would have to get permission from the White House Budget Office if it wanted to begin collecting it again.
She also said that EEOC data specialists had found that collecting the categorized data through Component 2 was 10 times more burdensome for employers than had originally been estimated. The agency will continue to collect data through Component 1, which simply requires a list of employees by job category, race, ethnicity and gender, without pay data.
OFCCP says it is ‘vigorously pursuing’ civil rights cases
The OFCCP will continue to require federal contractors to assess their pay structures each year to ensure there is no discrimination. The agency’s director noted that it has collected a record $45 million in compensation for discrimination victims in the last two calendar years.
It will continue to combat discrimination, the director said, while being careful to strike a balance between compliance assistance and enforcement actions. He added that the agency is “vigorously pursuing” enforcement of anti-discrimination protections in general, with a special emphasis on disability discrimination and reviews of Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act cases.