EEOC: Strategic Enforcement Plan

Employment law attorney Heather G. Ptasznik recently attended a meeting at the Detroit Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). She routinely practices before the EEOC in defending employers against charges of unlawful discrimination.

The EEOC provided insight into the major areas it is focusing on, including its six (6) national priorities:

1. Eliminating systematic barriers in recruitment and hiring which includes steering individuals into jobs based upon protected categories, use of screening tools that have an adverse impact on a particular group of individuals, and restrictive application processes. Groups affected by these types of practices include racial/ethnic minorities, older workers, women and individuals with disabilities.

2. Protecting immigrant, migrant and other vulnerable adults by targeting disparate pay practices, job segregation, harassment, human trafficking and discriminatory language policies in the workplace.

3. Addressing emerging and developing issues under the ADAAA (Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act) related to business necessity defenses, accommodating pregnancy related limitations, and LGBT coverage under Title VII.

4. Enforcing equal pay laws by targeting compensation systems and practices that discriminate based upon gender.

5. Preserving access to the legal system by targeting policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights or impede the investigation process through retaliation efforts or overly broad waiver of rights agreements.

6. Preventing harassment through systemic enforcement investigations and targeted outreach by conducting a targeted outreach campaign to deter harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Specifically, the EEOC is targeting pregnancy claims and customer/patient preferences (primarily in the home health care field).

The Detroit EEOC will also be adopting an online filing system so that Human Resources personnel will now receive Charges of Discrimination electronically (by e-mail) rather than by mail.

Navigating an EEOC investigation can be tricky for an employer. Making mistakes early in that process can often cause trouble for an employer, while making the right moves can set the stage for success. An EEOC or MDCR cause finding and documents submitted by the employer at the administrative level may be difficult to exclude from evidence in any subsequent trial on a civil rights matter. If you have any questions regarding the process or need assistance in defending against an EEOC or MDCR Charge, contact Kotz Sangster’s experienced employment lawyers.