HR Policy Urges EEOC to Discontinue Unhelpful Pay Data Collection

November 15, 2019

Responding to an EEOC request for comments on its current EEO-1 pay data reporting requirement, the Association reasserted its “longstanding commitment to eliminating unlawful compensation discrimination in the workplace” and highlighted to the Commission that the requirement would not assist the Commission, employers, or employees in addressing the pay gap.  The Association also joined a coalition of eight business groups in filing similar comments.

Misleading and useless data: Our comments lodged four complaints against the requirement, asserting it would NOT:

  • Help the EEOC better understand the scope of the pay gap;
  • Help the EEOC assess complaints of discrimination;
  • Help the EEOC more effectively focus agency investigations (it would in fact misdirect and waste agency and employer resources); or
  • Encourage employers to self-monitor or help employers analyze and evaluate their pay practices to prevent pay discrimination.

Concerns with aggregate data:  Our comments highlight the problem with using aggregate data to determine whether discrimination has occurred.  We note: “Because there are only ten EEO-1 job categories, employers are forced to categorize employees in pay bands who perform vastly different work.  For example, Component 2 requires an employer to combine lawyers, buyers and purchasing agents, human resources specialists, management analysts, accountants, and computer programmers as ‘professionals’ in order to assess discrimination complaints.”

What’s at stake:  The EEO-1 pay data requirement was initiated by the EEOC during the Obama administration.  The current administration was ordered by a federal court to begin collecting 2017 and 2018 data this year.  The EEOC has since announced that it will not require data in future years until it can reexamine the potential benefits and costs of collecting the data.  The request for public comments is a critical part of that reexamination.