Washington Restaurant Market Watch: Restaurants Respond to EEOC Overreach

Washington Restaurant Market Watch: Restaurants Respond to EEOC Overreach

By Paul Schlienz

Get ready for a whole lot more paperwork if the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has its way.

The EEOC wants businesses that employ more than 100 or more employees to increase the amount of data they send to the agency every September. The commission’s proposal would mandate that employers report the number of employees by ethnicity, race and gender that fall within 12 prescribed pay bands for each of 10 job categories on the EEO-1 form.

The increase in information that would be required is staggering. Currently, there are 180 fields on EEO-1. Under the proposal, the fields would increase to 3,660.

According to the EEOC, this change will allow it to better detect pay disparity cases that possibly violate Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act.

The National Restaurant Association is not taking this proposal sitting down.

“While [we] support the overall goal of combating compensation discrimination, we do not support the changes to the EEO-1 report as proposed in the 30-day notice,” the National Restaurant Association and other trade associations said in a joint letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). “This is because if finalized, the proposal will violate the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) by: (1) placing tremendous and costly burdens on employers; (2) yielding data of little utility; and (3) jeopardizing the confidentiality of sensitive compensation data. We therefore respectfully request that Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) return the proposed revisions to the Commission so that it can conduct a proper analysis of these vital PRA requirements.”

Congress is also aware of this problem.

In May, the House Appropriations Committee voted to block the EEOC from spending FY 2017 funds to enforce a new EEO-1. And in the Senate, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, introduced S. 2693 – the EEOC Reform  Act – which would prevent the proposed EEO-1 form revisions.

Alexander and Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; and Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; who are co-sponsoring S. 2693; filed comments with the OMB last week, asking that it reject the EEOC’s proposal.

Given the tremendous reporting burdens it would place on employers, Alexander commented, in the Chattanoogan, that he finds it “especially ironic that the rule has been submitted for review under the Paperwork Reduction Act.”

The EEOC Reform Act is currently in committee awaiting a hearing.

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