At the risk of sounding political during a presidential election year, I don’t think employers need the government making further intrusion into business.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is meddling again, and it’s bad news for employers. This time, the Feds are looking at equal pay. And, while we need to ensure that people are paid a fair wage, this is not the way to do it.
Recently the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published some proposed changes to the Employer Information Report, commonly known as the EEO-1 Report. All employers with 100 or more employees are currently required to annually complete the EEO-1 Report, providing information about the race and gender of employees in ten different job categories.
The EEOC’s proposal is that employers should now include pay data in addition to the race and gender information. Employers would be required to provide pay data, based on W-2 earnings, and total hours worked across the ten job categories. In their proposed rule change, the EEOC states that they want to make this change to “identify employers with existing pay disparities that might warrant further examination” and “may encourage employers to self-monitor and comply voluntarily if they uncover pay inequities.”
Forgive me for being a cynic, but I can’t help but think of Ronald Reagan’s statement of the “nine most terrifying words in the English language”, which are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
At the risk of sounding political during a presidential election year, I don’t think employers need the government making further intrusion into business. We don’t need the government to pry further into our business by requiring additional information. Many employers are still trying to figure out how to provide the information required by the Affordable Care Act. Adding an additional burden to employers is not the kind of help that we need.
The White House and EEOC are trying to sell this plan by saying that it helps them keep their vow to keep fighting unequal pay practices. I absolutely support the idea that pay should be based on skills, abilities, experience, education, and seniority, and not on gender, race, religion, disability, or any other characteristic not related to a person’s ability to get the results expected of them. Opening the door for the EEOC to investigate any employer’s practices based on fuzzy data is not the way to ensure equal pay for equal work is in fact practiced.
I have no doubt that some companies are engaging in unfair pay practices. However, I think that some statistics recently released by the EEOC indicate that this initiative may be “tilting at windmills.” According to the EEOC’s own statistics, of the 89,385 changes of discrimination filed in 2015, only 973, or 1.1% were regarding equal pay. Only 1.1%! For that, they want to implement this change.
Of those charges, 31,027 (34.7%) were for race discrimination and 26,396 (29.5%) were for sex discrimination. Let us not forget that the EEOC has been collecting job data by race and sex in the EEO-1 Report since 1967. Based on the fact that there are still so many discrimination charges, it doesn’t appear that the collection of this information has been of value. Why would they think that collecting more information, about an issue that appears to be of much less significance, would be of any value at all?
At this point, this is just a proposal. If you feel the same way I do you can see the Proposed Revision and make comments until April 1 at the following link: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/02/01/2016-01544/agency-information-collection-activities-revision-of-the-employer-information-report-eeo-1-and