On Thursday, May 10, 2012, the House of Representatives approved 247-163 a fiscal year 2013 funding bill (H.R. 5326) for a variety of federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), that includes a series of amendments that would curtail enforcement of certain labor- and employment-related regulations and programs. Generally, the bill would allocate nearly $367 million to the EEOC for FY 2013, but would prevent any of this funding from being used to implement and enforce the EEOC’s final rule that amends its Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) regulations to clarify the reasonable factors other than age (RFOA) defense in disparate impact cases.
Last month the House Appropriations Committee approved by voice vote the inclusion of the following provision offered by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA):
None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement, administer, or enforce the final regulations on ‘‘Disparate Impact and Reasonable Factors Other Than Age Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act’’ published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the Federal Register on March 30, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 19080 et seq.).
During several days of House consideration of this appropriations bill, a number of other amendments regarding funding concerns were approved. These amendments would prohibit the use of any of the bill’s funds from being used by the EEOC or Department of Justice (DOJ) to:
- sue any state on behalf of the National Labor Relations Board pertaining to secret ballot union elections
- implement, administer, or enforce the new EEOC Enforcement Guidance: Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions
- fund DOJ lawsuits against state immigration laws
- implement a section of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that allows miniature horses to be used as service animals
- fund DOJ defenses to Affordable Care Act challenges
The Senate Appropriates Committee approved its own bill funding the EEOC last month. Once the full Senate passes a final appropriations bill, it will need to be reconciled with the House version.