Employers and federal contractors breathed a sigh of relief at the end of August after the Trump administration suspended the EEOC’s requirement that they submit summary pay data relating to the agency’s 2016 declaration that it was going to begin collecting such data in order to help address gender pay discrepancy.
The original deadline was March 31, 2018, and the rule required private employers with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50 or more to submit summary pay data about W-2 earnings and hours in a dozen pay bands. The stay of the rule, based on its burdensomeness and lack of “practical utility,” among other things, was declared on August 29. Regular data collection and reporting on the EEO-1 for race, ethnicity and gender will still be required by March 31.
Politics and Pay
Despite the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, women still lag significantly behind men in terms of pay. The EEOC’s rule was supposed to be a way for the agency to address discriminatory pay practices as well as to “assist employers in evaluating their pay practices to prevent pay discrimination and strengthen enforcement of our federal antidiscrimination laws,” according to the EEOC.
In a statement, Acting EEOC Chair Victoria A. Lipnic said the halting of the rule won’t affect her agency’s strong enforcement efforts regarding federal equal pay laws. The EEOC and OMB are now reportedly reviewing the rule, and the EEOC has to submit a new information collection package to the OMB regarding the EEO-1, so the requirement may not be completely dead.
But politics will surely play a role, and they are clearly leaning away from such a rule: “The stay may just be a stop along the way to the revised EEO-1 form’s final demise,” according to the labor and employment group at Akerman LLP, a mid-sized transactional and trial law firm that represents employers.
“While Acting Chair Lipnic is the sole Republican on the EEOC, two other Republicans have been nominated to the five-member commission, including Janet Dhillon to serve as Chair,” say the Akerman attorneys. “If both are confirmed, there will be a Republican majority. At that point, it’s likely the commission will vote to rescind the new EEO-1 and seek other means of pursuing pay equity issues.”
Pay Discrimination Claims Aren’t Going Away
Employment lawyer Susan Fahey Desmond will address the tumult surrounding pay discrepancy filing in “2017 EEO1 Survey Reporting: Do It Before the EEOC or OFCCP Comes Knocking,” an audio conference with AudioSolutionz. From the suspended filing deadlines to understanding how to conduct a self-audit, Susan will address what you still need to be doing now to ensure that you can protect your company against claims of pay discrimination.