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Some Highlights from the EEOC’s Latest Strategic Plan

By Lindsey A. White - Shawe Rosenthal LLP

December 28, 2017

On December 8, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has released its draft strategic plan for public notice and comment.  Not to be confused with the revised Strategic Enforcement Plan published in September—which outlined substantive priorities for investigation and litigation—the strategic plan is akin to a company’s operational plan.

Although that may sound a little dry, the Strategic Plan has some interesting tidbits, nonetheless, including:

Expanding “utilization of technology to ensure the public has greater access to information about their rights and responsibilities.” We have already seen this through the staggered rollout of the online portal, which Respondents use the submit information to the EEOC, and through the recent expansion of the portal that permits Charging Parties to file charges electronically. Logically, we can anticipate an uptick in charge filings to accompany the ability to file online.

Goal percentages for EEOC and FEPA (Fair Employment Practices Agencies, aka, state and local agencies that investigate charges of discrimination) resolutions to have “targeted, equitable relief.” Targeted, equitable relief means any non-monetary and non-generic actions (i.e. legally required notices or notices informing employees of a charge resolution are excluded) to provide remedies or prevent similar violations in the future. This can include training, development of policies, and/or monitoring. What’s particularly striking is the difference in targets between the EEOC and the FEPAs—the EEOC’s goal is 80-82%, whereas the FEPA goal is only 15-17%.  Assuming these goals are set based upon previous baseline measures, what this signals is the EEOC is much more interested, aggressive and/or successful (!) in securing non-monetary relief.

The EEOC will also strive to continue to resolve at least 90% of its enforcement lawsuits favorably, either through a court decision, jury verdict, or settlement. Of course, this speaks to the high rate of success the Commission has in litigation, which can certainly impact whether an employer wishes to settle in conciliation or early in litigation.

A commitment to assist small and new businesses through EEOC-provided training and publication of resource documents.

Frankly, even as the National Labor Relations Board is finally easing off its virulently anti-employer approach (as we’ve previously blogged), the EEOC seems to be moving in a different direction. These proposals from the EEOC seek to continue expansion of its reach and impact. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

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