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Complying with the revised EEO-1 reporting requirements

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring,Human Resources

by Tracy A. Leahy, Esq., Clark Hill PLC, Detroit

Employers were required to file a new and revised EEO-1 report by Sept. 30. The EEOC recently revised the report form for the first time in more than 40 years. Did your organization comply with the new reporting requirements—or will you need to make changes?

What is an EEO-1?

An EEO-1 is an annual report on the demographics of a large organization’s work force, broken out by job category, race, gender and ethnicity. The EEOC uses EEO-1s from employers nationwide to analyze hiring patterns, assess the advancement of ethnic groups and women in the work force, and to pursue claims against employers that appear to underemploy minorities and women.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) also uses the information to promote affirmative action and diversity and to identify employment discrimination by government contractors.

Employers often use the information themselves to evaluate whether internal policies and practices promote equal employment opportunities.

The EEOC is prohibited from disclosing the contents of EEO-1s and must not give out any information about a specific employer. The OFCCP and contracting agencies of the federal government, on the other hand, are not bound by the same confidentiality requirements.

Do we need to file an EEO-1?

All private employers with 100 or more employees (and federal contractors with 50 or more employees and a government contract worth $50,000 or more) are required to submit annual EEO-1 reports. Employers must file EEO-1s with the EEOC’s Joint Reporting Committee on or before Sept. 30. Information on the form can come from employment data for any period between July and September of the relevant year. The EEOC encourages employers to file electronically through an online filing system.

Employers must maintain and have readily available copies of their most recently filed EEO-1.

What happens if we don’t comply?

The EEOC may seek a court order compelling employers to file an EEO-1. The EEOC may also prosecute employers for record-keeping violations. Willfully false statements made in an EEO-1 are punishable by a fine or imprisonment. Federal contractors that fail to comply with the reporting requirement may have their federal contracts terminated and may be ineligible for future contracts.

Other EEO-1 considerations

The EEOC encourages (but does not require) employers to let employees self-identify their race and ethnic category. Employees should be given the opportunity to identify their own heritage or ethnicity, and employers need to make clear that the inquiry is voluntary. Only if an employee declines a self-identification request should an employer make a visual identification of the employee’s race or ethnicity.

The EEOC encourages employers to resurvey employees yearly, perhaps as part of an annual update of personnel information. Consider using internal web sites to offer employees a confidential, voluntary way for them to identify their race and ethnic group.

Tracy A. Leahy is a senior attorney with the Labor and Employment Practice Group of Clark Hill’s Detroit Office. She represents employers in state and federal actions and has drafted and revised employment policies and handbooks. Contact her at (313) 965-8533 or tleahy@clarkhill.com.

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