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Changes to EEOC Reform Act Proposed for Federal Contractors and Private Employees

Will the EEOC Reform Act protect more employees from wage discrimination? A Senate bill was introduced in March to amend the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Reform Act. The EEOC Reform Act was first introduced in an attempt to collect pay data from employers and reduce the occurrence of wage inequalities and unlawful discrimination.

In light of the seventh anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in January 2016, protections for federal contractors and privately employed workers were proposed in order to require companies to report pay data that could deter unequal work conditions. The new proposal requires employers of federal contractors with between 50-99 employees and private employers with at least 100 employees to include pay data within each regular annual EEO-1 report along with information already required, such as the number of employees by job category, sex, race and ethnicity.

Now these specified types of companies will be required to disclose the employees’ total W-2 earnings for the year (to ensure the inclusion of nontraditional compensation like tips, commissions, and bonuses), for both full-time and part-time employee. The EEOC allowed comments for 90 days up to April 1, 2016. The main concerns for employers now required to disclose additional information include additional compliance requirements, confidentiality issues, and increasing enforcement.

On March 16, 2016, Senate Bill 2693 was proposed in response to the extended EEOC oversight. Among the top issues cited in the bill were:

  • Increase in data collection of 1,933 percent
  • Does not comport with that stated purpose of the Paperwork Reduction Act
  • 37.6 percent of EEOC staff expressed concern that their workload is not reasonable, substantially higher than the government-wide average of 26.5 percent

In response to the bill, the EEOC would be required to then collect information and file an annual report. The hours required by the EEOC for such an undertaking would be transferred by reducing the number of pending charges with the Commission at the end of the year. This data will provide the basis to estimate the number of hours it will take the EEOC to track, verify, and ensure the confidentiality of information in the annual reports.

According to Lawmaker Challenges EEOC’s Collection of Pay Data on Lexology, the Senate bill requires, “the agency to reduce its pending charges to not more than 3,660 of the 76,408 pending at the end of 2015 before beginning any collection of pay data.”

Many other responses during the EEOC Reform Act’s commentary period conveyed a need for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to either withdraw the reform or make substantial changes to the proposal before implementation to avoid overloading the commission.

After the proposal is reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget and the final revisions are made to the EEOC-1, the new agreement is set to be delivered by September 2016. With this timeline, the EEOC Reform Act pay data collection is likely to start in September 2017.

Are you experiencing wage discrimination on the job?

The best thing you can do for you or someone you know who is the victim of unlawful wage discrimination is to seek help from an experienced employment lawyer. Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., is a collective of employee rights attorneys who can help you get a better overview of your case. Call to set up a free confidential consultation today.

SOURCES:

Federal courts can’t intervene ‘too deeply’ in EEOC class actions, attorney says

EEOC Pay Data Proposal Draws Criticism and Applause

Lawmaker Challenges EEOC’s Collection of Pay Data

S.2693 114th Congress (2015-2016)

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