EEOC Makes Changes to Support Enforcement of Pay Discrimination Laws
In an effort to improve enforcement of federal pay discrimination laws and support employers' voluntary compliance with those laws, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a revised EEO-1 Report to collect aggregated employee pay data from private employers and federal contractors and subcontractors that employ 100 or more employees. The new form will be required going forward, starting with 2017 pay data.
Every year by September 30, certain employers including most federal contractors with 50 or more employees and private employers with 100 or more employees have been required to file an annual EEO-1 to report employee numbers based on job class, gender, race and ethnicity for one pay period or “workplace snapshot.” The just released revised form will require some of these same employers to also report summary wage data and hours worked based on where those employees fall in 12 specified pay bands.
The EEOC and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) at the Department of Labor believe the additional reporting will assist in their efforts to eliminate continuing wage disparities based on gender, race, and ethnicity that limit equal pay and equal opportunities across industries for women and minorities. Some pay variances may be explained by differences in education, career, or experience, but even when these factors are taken into account, the commission notes that significant unexplained earnings gaps remain among gender, racial, and ethnic groups.
Fighting wage discrimination
With the revised EEO-1 Report, the EEOC hopes to get a better picture of the pay gap—and enforce pay equality. "Too often, pay discrimination goes undetected because of a lack of accurate information about what people are paid," according to the Questions and Answers page on the Commission’s website.
The EEOC notes that workers can't easily remedy wage disparities if they don't know they're being underpaid. The Commission believes that access to aggregate pay data will assist them and the OFCCP in their efforts to combat such unfairness.
More information can lead to better compliance
Employers, including federal contractors and subcontractors, with 100 or more employees must submit wage data on the EEO-1 beginning with the 2017 reporting year. The Commission has also changed the dates of the “Workplace Snapshot” and the date the report is due. The workforce snapshot will move to a pay period during the three month period between October 1 and December 31. The first due date for the new EEO-1 Report will be March 31, 2018.
Federal contractors with 50-99 employees would not report pay data, but would continue to give an accounting of each job category in their workforces by ethnicity, race, and gender. In line with current practice, non-contractor employers with one to 99 employees and federal contractors with one to 49 employees would not be required to file the EEO-1 report.
Role of the EEOC
The EEOC enforces several federal laws which prohibit employment discrimination including but not limited to: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Under these laws, covered employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees and applicants in employment based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.
Coverage under the anti-discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC may vary based on the type of employer and the number of employees employed.