EEOC Goes After Pay Discrimination - Announces Proposed Rule Requiring Public Disclosure of Salary Information

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently proposed a revision to the Employer Information Report (EEO-1), which would require employers to make public the salaries of their employees in order to curb the pay disparity problem between men and women in the U.S. This new data will assist the agency in identifying possible pay discrimination and assist employers in promoting equal pay in their workplaces. 

Pay disparity between men and women is a national problem in the U.S. And given women's increasingly important role as breadwinners for American families, the country's entire economy suffers when they are subject to pay discrimination.

The report at issue, called the "EEO-1" provides the federal government with workforce profiles from private sector employers by race, ethnicity, sex, and job category. This proposal would add aggregate data on pay ranges and hours worked to the information collected, beginning with the September 2017 report.

The new pay data would provide EEOC and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) of the Department of Labor with insight into pay disparities across industries and occupations and strengthen federal efforts to combat discrimination. This pay data would allow EEOC to compile and publish aggregated data that will help employers in conducting their own analysis of their pay practices to facilitate voluntary compliance. The agencies would use this pay data to assess complaints of discrimination, focus agency investigations, and identify existing pay disparities that may warrant further examination.

"More than 50 years after pay discrimination became illegal it remains a persistent problem for too many Americans," said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang "Collecting pay data is a significant step forward in addressing discriminatory pay practices. This information will assist employers in evaluating their pay practices to prevent pay discrimination and strengthen enforcement of our federal anti-discrimination laws." 

"We can't know what we don't know. We can't deliver on the promise of equal pay unless we have the best, most comprehensive information about what people earn," said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "We expect that reporting this data will help employers to evaluate their own pay practices to prevent pay discrimination in their workplaces. The data collection also gives the Labor Department a more powerful tool to do its enforcement work, to ensure that federal contractors comply with fair pay laws and to root out discrimination where it does exist."

EEOC's current proposal is in response to recommendations from independent studies and the Commission's work with the President's National Equal Pay Task Force, which recently proposed new data collection requirements to combat pay discrimination in the workplace.