Obama-Era EEO-1 Freeze

As of August 29th, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received notice from the Office of Management and Budget initiating a review and immediate stay of certain aspects in the Obama-era EEO-1 form, which provides information on different groups of employees within a business. The section of the form under the freeze detailed the wages and number of hours worked for employees of different demographics. This information was intended to make disparities in pay, also known as wage gaps, transparent.

Rather than being used to immediately fix these inequalities in pay, the information from the EEO-1 form was meant to detail the wage gaps to employers. Additionally, in instances of employee discrimination, the information provided would allow the EEOC to better investigate businesses that reported sizeable gaps between certain demographics of employees.

While the EEO-1 form would not report the pay information of individual employees, it would classify employees into groups based on their job category, pay bracket, race, and gender. The EEOC was slated to gather information using this form in March 2018, but it will now use a previously-approved version. The previous version of the form will still report the demographics of race and gender among employees, but due to the freeze, it will not report the pay information.

The Office of Management and Budget cited the reason for the freeze as being a “lack of practical utility,” in addition to being “unnecessarily burdensome” to employers. The statement from the Office also requires the EEOC to create a new version of the form to submit for review.

“The EEOC remains committed to strong enforcement of our federal equal pay laws… [This] decision will not alter EEOC’s enforcement efforts,” Victoria A. Lipnic, Acting Chair of the EEOC, responded to the immediate stay of the EEO-1.

She additionally stated that, “Going forward, we at the EEOC will review the order and our options. I do hope that this decision will prompt a discussion of other more effective solutions to encourage employers to review their compensation practices to ensure equal pay and close the wage gap. I stand ready to work with Congress, federal agencies, and all stakeholders to achieve that goal.”

Currently, the Pew Research Center reports that, while the wage gap has been generally shrinking over the years, white women still earn 83% of what white men earn. Minorities make even less than both groups and have seen stagnation in the size of their wage gaps.

The Equal Pay Act was created to protect against sex-based discrimination, and a federal employment attorney can make sure you are protected. This discrimination covers unequal pay, but also covers inequalities within retirement and benefits plans between men and women at the same workplace. If you have been discriminated against based on your sex, you may be eligible to receive back pay (up to two times the amount if the employer is proven willful) and recuperate attorney’s fees. Schedule a consultation with a federal employment attorney to determine what you may be entitled to.