Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) members stated at a recent conference that the EEOC will continue to follow the enforcement priorities outlined in the agency’s strategic enforcement plan (“SEP”) for 2017-2021. The SEP goals prioritize: (1) eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring; (2) protecting vulnerable workers, including immigrant and migrant workers, and underserved communities from discrimination; (3) addressing selected emerging and developing APRIL 2017 - 7 - issues; (4) ensuring equal pay protections for all workers; (5) preserving access to the legal system; (6) and preventing systematic harassment.
EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum stated that although some changes are to be expected under the Trump administration, the EEOC will continue to follow the 2017- 2021 SEP enforcement priorities. “You might see some modifications in terms of focus, but these are the priorities.” Currently, the commission consists of three Democrats, one Republican, and one open seat. Victoria Lipnic, the sole Republican commissioner, was named acting chair by President Trump in January 2017. The Trump administration is expected to name another commissioner and the new General Counsel. Additionally, one of the seats held by a Democratic commissioner will expire later this year, and will also need to be filled by the Trump administration.
Commissioner Lipnic reiterated the EEOC will stay committed to its central mission of enforcing anti-discrimination laws, though with an increased emphasis on job growth. Businesses will be keeping an eye on the EEO- 1 regulation, which has been discussed in a previous legal update. EEO-1 requires businesses with 100 or more workers to submit data on hours worked and wages, along with corresponding demographic information. The regulation has been heavily criticized by Republicans and business groups as overly burdensome and costly. Businesses covered by the regulation must report the data by March 2018, unless the reporting requirements are changed before then.