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EEOC Set to Resume EEO-1 Data Collection as Workplaces Begin to Normalize

Posted: April 14, 2021

After a year of COVID-19-related delays, and as employers look to bring employees back to the workplace due to ongoing vaccination successes, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced it will restart its annual collection of EEO-1 data on April 26, 2021, with a deadline set for July 19, 2021. The upcoming collections, which apply only to private employers with more than 100 employees or federal government contractors with more than 50 employees and a contract worth more than $50,000, include only the racial/ethnic and gender composition of employers’ workplaces by specific job categories (Component 1 data). Reports for hours worked and pay data (Component 2 data) remains suspended.

Employers accustomed to making these EEO-1 filings may notice they will have slightly more time to submit their reports, as the EEOC expanded the filing period from 10 weeks to 12 weeks for the 2021 period. This decision came in light of the EEOC’s recognition of “the continuing differential impacts of the pandemic on workplaces nationwide and the requirements to submit two years of EEO-1 data.” This delay should also benefit any California employers that recently wrapped up their California pay data reporting requirements at the end of March.

The recommencement of EEO-1 data collection, however, brings along a number of logistical questions about how to accurately report the required information from a two-year period in which employees largely transitioned from working in traditional, central workplaces to much broader, remote locations. Further, the EEOC removed much of its guidance that would have been helpful in this situation, including its advice that employers should report employees as working for the “establishment” to which they report even if they work remotely.

Further, in an age of evolving social norms with respect to topics such as gender identity, employers are forced to consider the labels to place on employees who may not subscribe to the currently-established binary male and female categories provided in EEO-1 reports.

As we get closer to April 26, we suspect the EEOC will release guidance or other helpful materials to assist employers in navigating these issues, but it has yet to do so to date. If no formal or informal public guidance is submitted, employers are permitted to reach out to the EEOC to ask for guidance to avoid any delays or errors in their filings.

If you have any questions about the upcoming reporting requirements and how best to handle any potential filing complications, please contact an attorney in Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr’s Labor and Employment Practice Group.