The number of private-sector charges of discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission declined for the third year in a row, according to the newly released Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) for fiscal year 2014. The significant drop from 93,727 charges filed in FY 2013 to 88,778 charges filed in FY 2014 can be attributed, in part, to last year’s government shutdown and sequestration, the EEOC said. Highlights of the PAR include:
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In its first full hearing since the November elections, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) met on Thursday to discuss the nominations of P. David Lopez to serve another term as General Counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Charlotte Burrows to serve as an EEOC Commissioner.
On September 17, 2014, the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing to discuss legislative proposals to increase transparency and accountability at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In his opening statement, Chairman of the Subcommittee, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), said the EEOC “has spent a great deal of time and resources advancing a deeply flawed enforcement and regulatory agenda” and that “[e]mployers have fallen under EEOC’s intense scrutiny without any allegation of employment discrimination.” Chairman Walberg also criticized the agency for “pursuing a regulatory scheme that is making it more difficult for employers to protect employees and consumers.” Walberg urged his colleagues to support legislation that would “help shine more sunlight on EEOC activities, compel the agency to work with employers in good faith to resolve complaints, force the commissioners to do their jobs and oversee the agency’s enforcement actions, and provide a safe harbor to employers complying with federal, state, and local mandates, such as laws requiring criminal background checks during the hiring process.”
Days after President Obama stated he was naming Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Vice Chair Jenny Yang (D) to fill departing Chair Jacqueline Berrien’s seat on the Commission, the White House announced that it was nominating Department of Justice (DOJ) Associate Deputy Attorney General Charlotte Burrows to become a new member to complete the five-member board.
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, introduced two bills on September 10 aimed at curbing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s authority.
In December 2013, in EEOC v. Mach Mining, LLC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit became the first federal circuit to foreclose an employer’s ability to use the implied affirmative defense that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) failed to conciliate prior to bringing suit. The Seventh Circuit held that, based on the conciliation language in Title VII and Seventh Circuit precedent, the EEOC’s approach to conciliation during the administrative charge process is not judicially reviewable and not an affirmative defense to be used against the agency. The Seventh Circuit’s holding is contrary to every other circuit that has evaluated this issue.
Recently, the Chicago District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued CVS Pharmacy, Inc. because CVS required employees to sign a release that the EEOC claims was “overly broad, misleading, and unenforceable” due to provisions in the release which allegedly infringed on the employees’ rights to file charges of discrimination and participate in EEOC investigations.1 On April 30, 2014, the Phoenix District Office of the EEOC sued CollegeAmerica Denver, Inc. in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, making similar allegations.2 All employers should carefully review their form release agreements in light of these actions by the EEOC, which we expect will continue.
Last month, the EEOC recently updated its charge statistics for 2013. This information comes at the heels of an updated enforcement plan released late last year. With the benefit of a little time, a deeper look at these numbers reveals some important messages for organizations looking to focus their compliance efforts.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s recently released enforcement and litigation data for FY 2013, total charges of discrimination filed with the agency dipped by nearly 6% compared to the prior fiscal year, although the agency recovered a record amount ($372.1 million) through its administrative process. The new data, which includes detailed charge breakdowns by claim type and state, supplements the agency’s Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) for Fiscal Year 2013, which was released in December 2013. The PAR summarizes the agency’s assessment of its policies and financial performance for the fiscal year, including the number of private sector charges received, federal lawsuits filed, and monetary awards recovered.
Over the years, Littler has provided periodic reports on significant cases, regulatory developments and other activities involving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or “the Commission”). While such guidance is intended to update employers on significant EEOC developments as they arise, we believe that employers can also benefit from an annual update and overview of key EEOC developments. This Annual Report on EEOC Developments—Fiscal Year 2013 (hereafter “Report”), our third annual report, is designed as a comprehensive guide to significant EEOC developments over the past fiscal year.
After being delayed a month due to a 16-day government shutdown, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has released its much-anticipated Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) for Fiscal Year 2013. The PAR summarizes the agency’s assessment of its program and financial performance for the fiscal year, including the number of private sector charges received, federal lawsuits filed, and monetary awards recovered. A more detailed breakdown of the EEOC’s charge statistics will be released in the beginning of 2014.
Weeks after the National Labor Relations Board entered into a cooperation agreement with Mexico, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken similar steps. On Aug. 8, the EEOC announced that its Miami district office had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Consulate General of Mexico in Miami and Consulate of Mexico in Orlando. According to the EEOC, the MOU “establishes an ongoing collaboration between these entities to provide Mexican nationals with information, guidance, and access to resources on the prevention of discrimination in the workplace regardless of immigration status.”
On December 17, 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) approved its strategic enforcement plan for 2013-2016. That plan identified the EEOC’s priorities and intended focus over the next few years. Topping that list is the EEOC’s goal to eliminate barriers in recruitment and hiring.