The EEOC Just Updated The Strategic Enforcement Plan

I have talked often about the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (“SEP”) when discussing cases filed by the EEOC.  The SEP sets forth areas of particular enforcement interest to the EEOC.

The EEOC just approved an updated Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for Fiscal Years 2017-2021, which
continues to set forth the EEOC’s priorities but “with some modifications.”

Office, Business, Businessmen

Employers take noteThe “updated” priorities which the EEOC has identified are:

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring;

Protecting vulnerable workers, including immigrant and migrant workers, and underserved communities from discrimination;

Addressing selected emerging and developing issues;

Ensuring equal pay protections for all workers; based on sex, race, ethnicity, age, and for individuals with disabilities;

Preserving access to the legal system; and

Preventing systemic harassment.

The updates include “issues related to complex employment relationships in the 21st century workplace” – which I construe as, perhaps, employee v. independent contractor issues; franchisor liability for a franchisee’s alleged discrimination; and joint employer liability.

Also included: “backlash discrimination against those who are Muslim or Sikh, or persons of Arab, Middle Eastern or South Asian descent, as well as persons perceived to be members of these groups.”  No need to explain the inclusion of this one at this time.

Finally, the EEOC notes that “[t]he lack of diversity in technology and the increasing use of data driven screening tools, highlighted by recent Commission meetings, are also recognized as focus areas within the priority on barriers to recruitment and hiring.”

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Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]