EEOC_Senator_Letter_Affirmative_Action

Click on the Image to Read the Senators’ Letter

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has caused quite a stir this year with the release of their proposal to revise compensation data collection for the EEO-1 Report. Since the proposal’s release in January, it has received harsh criticism and pushback from both employers and public figures, most recently from several Republican senators. Senator Pat Roberts, Senator Johnny Isakson, and Senate Labor Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander recently submitted a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) strongly advising the OMB not to approve the EEOC’s revised EEO-1 report.

Background on the Revised EE0-1 Report Proposal

The revised EEO-1 Report would require employers with 100 or more employees to report the number of hours worked and summary pay (that will be grouped in “pay bands” established by the EEOC) broken down by gender, ethnicity, and race. The EEOC claims the additional data collected will be used to detect potential pay discrimination and promote pay equality in the workplace.

Revised EE0-1 Report Proposal Timeline

  • January 29, 2016: the EEOC announced a proposal to revise the EEO-1 Report
  • February 1, 2016: Published the proposal in the Federal Register; the comment period for the proposal closed on April 1, 2016, and received over 300 comments
  • March 16, 2016: The EEOC held a public hearing regarding the revised EEO-1 Report
  • July 14, 2016: The revised proposal was published in the Federal Register; the comment period for the proposal closed on August 15, 2016, and received close to 600 comments

Senator’s Letter to the OMB

The letter from the trio of Senators, submitted to the Federal Register before the final cut off date, can be found here (Senators’ Letter). The brief letter from the senators offers insight into why they adamantly disapprove and disagree with the proposal. The senator’s complaints are based on the EEOC not meeting the Paperwork Reduction Act’s two goals 1. Minimizing paperwork and reporting burdens and 2. Ensure the maximum possible utility of data collected. The arguments concerning the two chief complaints and quotes from the letter are as follows:

  1. The senators claim the EEOC’s proposal does not meet the goals of the Paperwork Reduction Act; instead, they believe it will significantly increase the reporting burden and current paperwork.

“The pending proposal would increase this data collection twenty-fold from 180 to 3,660 for each employer’s establishment. In total EEOC would be collecting up to nearly three billion data fields… in no way minimizing paperwork and reporting burdens on the American public.”

  1. While the EEOC provides some explanation for requesting additional data, the senators stress it is not comprehensive nor does it ensure the maximum possible utility of data collected.

“It is unclear how EEOC will be able to accomplish this goal [identifying illegal wage discrimination] as its proposal would merely provide EEOC with aggregate pay data within twelve pay bands and 10 job categories without any additional information such as work history education, and specific job category information.”

“The National Academy of Sciences issued a study, Collecting Compensation Data from Employers (NAS Study), that specifically discouraged the EEOC from using pay bands to collect pay data because it lacked the rigor of other methods. In addition, the 10 job categories are so broad that preschool teachers, lawyers, actors, umpires, and anesthesiologists would be lumped into the same job category of aggregate data.”

In closing the letter, the senators directly attack not only the proposal but also the agency itself stating the EEOC has a “track record of pursuing high-profile lawsuits without complaints while facing an ever increasing backlog of actual complaints.” Furthermore, the EEOC’s proposal is likely to worsen the backlog of over 76,000 unresolved complaints, “instead of focusing on its mission of investigating complaints of discrimination in the workplace.”

Closing

As the revised EE0-1 Report proposal moves into its final stages of approval, the outcome is still unclear. What has become increasingly evident is the overwhelming number of critics stepping up and voicing concern and disagreement. Of the nearly 600 comments submitted to the Federal Register, the letter from the trio of Senators encompasses many of the aggregated concerns of the employment community.In the upcoming months, the OMB will review all of the latest comments submitted to determine whether more changes are in order. If the proposal is approved, employers should expect EEOC to have a revised EEO-1 form completed shortly after.If you have any questions or concerns about the proposal to revise compensation data collection for the EEO-1 Report, contact Career Resources, Inc. at info@crincorporated.com.