If you're a private employer with 100 or more employees, or a federal contractor with 50 or more employees and a contract of $50,000 or more, the September 30 deadline to submit the 2008 EEO-1 survey is fast approaching. The EEO-1 form was revised for 2007. Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) does not require employers to resurvey current employees using the new race and ethnicity categories, it strongly encourages employers to do so.
The EEOC prefers that employers gather data by having employees self-identify, rather than using visual observation. The EEOC states on its website that obtaining information about employees' race and ethnicity via visual identification or existing employment records should occur only if an employee refuses to self-identify.
When collecting data for the EEO-1 report, employers should use a two-question format, which first asks whether the employee's ethnicity is Hispanic or Latino; if neither apply, then they are asked to choose from among six race categories. A sample Voluntary Self-Identification Form is available on AHI's HR Personnel Forms & Documents Library CD.
Five things about the EEO-1 report to remember:
The survey process is voluntary. If an employee refuses to self-identify, you cannot take an adverse action against him/her. Your only reaction should be to fill in the data by using your best judgment based on your visual observation or by checking employment records.
You must accept employees' self-identification, even if you believe an employee's race or ethnicity is different than what the employee claims.
If an employee self-identifies as Hispanic or Latino, but also checks a race category, only the ethnicity information is reported on the EEO-1 form. However, if an employee supplies race data, you must preserve it as an employment record (see #5).
There is nothing stopping you from asking employees to specify particular races, rather than simply marking the "Two or more races category." However, when an employee marks more than one race category instead of (or in addition to) the "Two or more races" category, you must preserve the detailed race data as an employment record (see #5).
EEO-1 reports must be kept strictly confidential. Self-identification forms should be secured in a file that is separate from general personnel files or other records available to those responsible for personnel decisions.