EEOC Releases New Online Resource Center

September 28, 2016

pic-tech-computerOn Sept. 27, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a new online resource center designed to help small-business owners comply with the laws enforced by EEOC.

This new resource tool comes on the same week the EEOC is expected to release a final regulation that will require businesses to disclose extensive data on diversity and compensation. A proposed version of the rule, issued in February, required businesses with 100 or more employees to submit pay data by race, ethnicity, and gender on a form (EEO-1) that they are already required to submit. The EEO-1 currently provides demographic information about workers in ten job categories. The EEOC issued a revised version of the rule in July to give employers more time to submit reports for 2017, by extending the deadline to March 31, 2018. The agency estimates that the proposed rule will increase the annual cost associated with completing an EEO-1 report by $25 million nationwide, and will also impose a one-time compliance cost of $27 million. The EEOC says the rule will help the agency identify pay discrimination patterns.

However, NSBA disagreed and submitted comments emphasizing our concerns that adding these pay data provisions would place massive and unnecessary burdens on smaller employers and waste federal resources on fruitless “fishing expeditions” based on incomplete and misleading information. The letter went on to say, NSBA’s members fear that if the proposed rule goes into effect, they will need to spend an extraordinary amount of time gathering and inputting the information requested by the EEOC. And, without the opportunity to explain their decision-making process, employers also may be more likely to face baseless pay discrimination lawsuits. Small businesses that are already following the law simply do not have the resources to defend against misguided and burdensome bureaucratic inquiries into their legitimate pay practices, let alone expend thousands of dollars to defend against meritless lawsuits regarding the same.

Specifically, the Small Business Resource Center (SBRC), located on EEOC’s website at www.eeoc.gov, is intended to provide a user-friendly one-stop source for information on federal employment anti-discrimination laws. In addition to providing general information on EEOC’s laws and ways in which EEOC can assist small businesses, there are also answers to frequently asked questions, guidance in making employment decisions and tips for small businesses on a variety of potential workplace discrimination issues.

EEOC is also launching the first in a series of short videos for small-business owners on frequently asked compliance questions. The videos feature EEOC employees from across the country addressing topics, such as responding to an EEOC discrimination charge, and many helpful strategies for small businesses to follow when they start the hiring process.

The Resource Center is a product of EEOC’s Small Business Task Force, which is led by Commissioner Constance S. Barker. Launched by Commissioner Barker in 2011, the task force aims to address the needs of small businesses by providing ready access to information through the use of the internet, social media and other sources that is plainly written and easy to understand. It focuses on the needs of startups and companies that may not have the ability to afford human resource professionals or lawyers. It is the first in a series of products the task force is currently developing.

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