The $56 billion fiscal year 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill cleared the House Appropriations Committee on May 24. As amended, the measure would maintain EEOC funding at the agency’s FY 2016-enacted level, but with an important hitch that presumably, would knock out the commission’s plans for expanded EEO-1 reporting.
The spending measure, as approved by the committee, would give the EEOC $364,500,000. The commission was looking for a FY2017 budget of $376,646,000—$12.146 million more than the draft appropriations measure would provide.
Amendment targets EEOC proposal. Notably, the bill includes an amendment submitted by Representative Andy Harris (R-Md.) that would bar funding in the bill from being used to implement a “new EEOC regulation that requires businesses to report on certain demographic information of the employees”—presumably referring to the commission’s proposed revision of the EEO-1 Report to include compensation data. The committee noted the amendment’s passage by a voice vote; Harris also tweeted the news.
EEO-1 Report revision. The commission has said that the new data gathered under the proposed EEO-1 Report revision, which was published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2016, will assist the EEOC and the OFCCP in identifying possible pay discrimination and will also assist employers in promoting equal pay in their workplaces. Not everyone sees it that way, however.
The EEOC’s pay data collection proposal will ignore factors relevant to employers’ individual compensation decisions in favor of broad data that will have little, if any, utility in uncovering compensation discrimination, according to attorney Leigh M. Nason, a shareholder in the Columbia, South Carolina, office of Ogletree Deakins, who chairs the firm’s Affirmative Action/OFCCP Compliance Practice Group. In addition, Nason expressed doubts about the proposal’s representations regarding the employer burden and confidentiality concerns.
In a letter to EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called the proposal “far outside the norm of information collection requests for form revisions,” noting also that the revision adds two major new categories of information collection: earnings and hours worked—a significant expansion of the size, content and structure of the EEO-1 reporting requirement. In order to comply, many employers will have to construct new time-tracking and accounting systems that do not currently exist for executive, managerial, administrative, professional, and other employees who are FLSA exempt, according to the Chamber. In addition, to meet the earnings data element of the revision, most employers “will have to integrate information from currently separate information systems that maintain employee gender, race, and ethnicity data and that maintain employee compensation data.”
Pamela Wolf, J.D.
Source: CCH Daily Digest