Calling certain provisions “unnecessarily burdensome,” the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has suspended pending EEO-1 pay reporting requirements that would have compelled businesses to report pay data, including hours worked, for employees broken down by gender, race, and ethnicity to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Businesses are now only required to submit data on employees’ gender, race, and ethnicity, which has been the case for decades.
In February 2016, the EEOC proposed a revision of EEO-1 reporting rules that would require employers with more than 100 employees to gather and submit W2 earnings information and hours worked across gender, race, and ethnic categories. Opponents of the revision, such as the US Chamber of Commerce and Republican legislators, argued that the change would place undue administrative burdens on firms as well as potential privacy concerns relating to collecting demographic data and payroll information.
“The EEOC remains committed to strong enforcement of our federal equal pay laws, a position I have long advocated,” Victoria Lipnic, acting chair of the EEOC, explained after the suspension was announced. “Today’s decision will not alter EEOC’s enforcement efforts.”
Lipnic added that she hopes “this decision will prompt a discussion of other more effective solutions to encourage employers to review their compensation practices to ensure equal pay and close the wage gap” and expressed eagerness to work alongside lawmakers and federal agencies in pursuit of that goal. Notably, Lipnic voted against implementation of the pay reporting rule last year.
Experts predict that other changes may come to the EEOC in the near future. Two Republicans are currently pending Senate approval to serve on the EEOC; if approved, that would give the GOP a majority on the five-member panel.
Additionally, the EEOC may change its interpretation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which it has previously determined encompasses sexual orientation bias in the workplace. Despite the EEOC’s position, the Department of Justice has taken the view that sexual orientation is not a protected category under Title VII, prompting speculation of an impending reevaluation of existing enforcement policies.
The EEOC requires that employers report relevant data on gender, race, and ethnicity of their employees by March 31, 2018.
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