On August 29, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) informed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that it is staying the collection of pay data that was previously due by March 31, 2018 as a new component of EEO-1 submissions. The OMB explained that the stay was necessary pending a review of the effectiveness of the pay data component of the EEO-1 form. The EEO-1 form was revised as of September 29, 2016 and would have required all employers with 100 or more employees to provide pay data based upon race, gender, and ethnicity.
Prior to the September 29, 2016 amendment to the form, employers with 100 or more employees were required to submit the EEO-1 form; however, it only required disclosure of information of employee titles, race, gender, and ethnicity. The September 29, 2016 revision was going to require employers to provide pay data broken down by race, gender, and ethnicity. The form was amended as part of a strategic effort to bridge pay gaps by exposing pay inequity and increasing enforcement of equal pay laws. Critics claimed that the amendment would increase data collection twenty-fold and create a significant potential for data security breaches and privacy violations.
The EEOC’s Acting Chair, Victoria Lipnic, issued a statement on the evening of August 29 emphasizing that the “EEOC is committed to strong enforcement of our federal equal pay laws.” Additionally, Lipnic clarified that despite the OMB announcement that wage data will not be required, employers must provide the EEO-1 data they were providing prior to the September 29, 2016 amendment.
While the pay data component of the EEO-1 form has been stayed, the EEOC noted that it will continue to investigate, enforce and, if necessary, bring litigation to address pay inequity in the workplace. Accordingly, employers that have already performed wage audits or surveys are advised to work immediately to address any disparities. Employers that have not undertaken such a review should strategize and assess pay across the organization and consider undertaking an audit. Depending upon the way an audit or survey is performed the data and results may be discoverable in litigation. This is one of many reasons why seeking the advice of legal counsel is advisable in addressing equal pay within the workplace.
For more information on the impact of this new law, please contact a member of Goldberg Segalla’s Employment and Labor Practice Group.