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EEOC gets a quorum

Newest member brings the number up to three

Posted May 13, 2019

In a vote of 50 - 43, Janet Dhillon of Pennsylvania is set to be the new chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for a term expiring July 1, 2022. While the agency is designed to have five members, currently, it has only two, not enough to establish a quorum. To date, Victoria Lipnic has been acting chair. The agency lost its quorum with the departure of Chai Feldblum in January. The quorum could be short-lived, however, as Charlotte Burrows’, term will expire in July 2019. Without a quorum, the EEOC’s activities could be impacted.

Dhillon will take on the new EEO-1 pay data reporting requirement. The EEOC expects to begin collecting the pay and hours worked data for calendar years 2017 and 2018 in mid-July 2019. On May 3, 2019, however, the Department of Justice filed a Notice of Appeal in the case surrounding the requirement. The filing of the Appeal does not stop the requirement or alter EEO-1 filers' obligations to submit the pay data. EEO-1 filers should begin preparing to submit the pay data. Dhillon’s appointment could herald in new related rules.

The EEOC also enforces the non-discrimination employment laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Recently, debate has been brewing over whether Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The EEOC currently maintains that it does, while the U.S. Department of Justice does not. This issue is set to be decided by the next session of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Another of the EEOC’s challenge is addressing the gender pay gap, particularly considering the #MeToo movement.

Not everyone is happy about the nomination. Senator Murray, a ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, indicated that it has long been common practice in the Senate to confirm nominees to independent agencies such as the EEOC, in pairs — one Republican and one Democrat.

With Dhillon’s confirmation, employers could see some action regarding these issues, including some new requirements. Time will tell.

This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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