House Hearing Focuses on Three Bills to Curb Alleged EEOC Abuses

September 26, 2014

In what could signal efforts in the next Congress to rein in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee recently held a hearing on three bills that would make the agency more transparent and accountable to stakeholders.  The three bills are:

  • The Certainty in Enforcement Act (H.R. 5423), which would give employers a "safe harbor" from Title VII liability if they are following other federal, state or local laws that compel criminal or credit background checks;

  • The EEOC Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 4959), which would address a federal circuit court split by amending Title VII to permit judicial review of whether the EEOC engaged in "good faith" pre-suit conciliation efforts with employers to settle discrimination charges, and require the agency to post online the details of all cases in which courts award attorneys' fees or impose sanctions against the EEOC; and

  • The Litigation Oversight Act (H.R. 5422), which would require the EEOC commissioners to vote on whether the agency files any lawsuit involving multiple plaintiffs, alleged systemic discrimination or a "pattern or practice" of alleged bias, and would preclude the commissioners from delegating their litigation authority to other agency officials.
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced H.R. 4959, while Subcommittee Chairman Tim Walberg (R-MI) sponsored H.R. 5422 and H.R. 5423.  According to Chairman Walberg, the EEOC "has spent a great deal of time and resources advancing a deeply flawed enforcement and regulatory agenda" and "the agency's edict restricting the use of criminal background checks is putting people in harm's way."