Regardless of the recent changes to the White House, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is planning to continue to follow its most recent bipartisan strategic enforcement plan, slated to go now through 2021.

There are six priorities EEOC plans to focus on in the coming years to help focus its resources as well as give employers a sense of what the agency is looking into, Commissioner Chai Feldblum said Tuesday, speaking at the Society for Human Resource Management’s legal conference in Washington, D.C.

One of the more timely priorities the EEOC plans to hone in on is ensuring equal pay protections for all workers.

Commissioner Chai Feldblum speaks in Washington, D.C.[Image credit: SHRM]
Commissioner Chai Feldblum speaks in Washington, D.C.

[Image credit: SHRM]

This area of focus is expanding on the commitment to end pay discrimination based on gender and to add inclusion on race, national origin, disability, age and other bases, Feldblum said.

A key takeaway for employers is that, for the first time, the agency is going to begin collection pay data from employers with 100 or more employees, with a deadline of March 31, 2018.

The agency will collect summary employee pay data from employers to help improve investigations of possible pay discrimination, which remains a contributing factor to persistent wage gaps, and the summary pay data will be added to the annual Employer Information Report or EEO-1 report.

Another focus for the EEOC will be on emerging and developing areas of the law, more specifically, on:

· Accommodating pregnancies
· Discrimination against LGBT individuals
· ADA issues
· Complex employment relationships
· Backlash discrimination

Regarding the more complex relationships, Feldblum notes the traditional employee-employer relationships are not so traditional. For example, temporary and independent contractors have emerged on the employee side while staffing agencies and franchises or joint employers have developed on the business side.

The other goals EEOC wants employers to be aware of include:

· Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring
· Protecting vulnerable workers, including immigrant and migrant workers
· Preserving access to the legal
· Preventing systemic harassment

Feldblum says the EEOC is expected to take a holistic approach to combating harassment in the workplace going forward, including the use of four checklists on: leadership and accountability, anti-harassment policies, harassment reporting procedures and compliance training.

“We did these [checklists] specifically for HR folks,” she said.

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