The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) portal for accepting EEO-1 reports is open, but confusion still surrounds when and how employers are to include the newly required pay and hours-worked data.
Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on March 19 ordered the EEOC to provide employers with a timeline by April 3 on plans to collect the pay and hours-worked information, referred to as Component 2 data. The EEO-1 reports are due by May 31, but the portal the EEOC uses to accept the reports opened March 18 without a way to submit the Component 2 data.
The EEO-1 report is required of employers with at least 100 employees as well as federal contractors and subcontractors with at least 50 employees. The purpose of the report is to help authorities gauge compliance with federal equal opportunity laws.
In previous years, employers required to submit EEO-1 reports had to include race/ethnicity, gender, and job category information (Component 1 data). But the Obama administration proposed adding the pay and hours-worked data to the annual report to help the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) identify pay disparities across industries and occupations.
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Before the new Component 2 requirement was implemented, however, the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a stay, claiming the new requirements were too burdensome on employers. But Chutkan on March 4 ordered the OMB to lift its stay, making the reports due May 31 the first to require the new Component 2 data.
The EEOC posted a notice on its website saying it “is working diligently on next steps in the wake of the court’s order . . . which vacated the OMB stay on collection of Component 2 EEO-1 pay data. The EEOC will provide further information as soon as possible.”
Advice for Employers
With a federal judge ruling that the Component 2 data should be included but the EEOC’s portal not providing a way to submit it, employers may be in a quandary about what to do, but more information should be coming soon.
“The portal is currently open for filing traditional race/gender information, but we’re advising clients not to file anything just yet; if compensation data is required later, it will be easiest to ensure data integrity and consistency if the data is prepared and submitted at the same time,” Charles McClellan, an attorney with Foulston Siefkin LLP in Wichita, Kansas, says. “And with a current May 31 deadline to submit the traditional EEO-1 report, there’s no urgency to file now.”
McClellan says it would not be surprising for the EEOC to ask for an extended period to prepare its systems to receive the Component 2 data. “It seems clear that Judge Chutkan will not allow the EEOC to just put this off until next year, but she might allow some reasonable limited extension beyond May 31.” Also, the government might appeal the judge’s order and ask for a stay of the ruling, which could put the data collection on hold again, he says.
Juanita Beecher, an attorney with Fortney & Scott, LLC in Washington, D.C., says “many if not most” employers won’t be ready to submit Component 2 data by May 31. Therefore, the EEOC might extend the deadline to as late as September 30. She recommends that employers begin now to determine when and whether they can comply with the Component 2 requirements.
“We will know more on April 3,” Beecher says. “The government can still appeal the decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals.”
Tammy Binford writes and edits news alerts and newsletter articles on labor and employment law topics for BLR web and print publications.