EEOC Makes Final Extension to EEO-1 Reporting Deadline

​Covered employers now have until Oct. 25 to file their 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 reports, according to a recent announcement from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Although the reporting deadline has been delayed several times during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said it will not authorize any more extensions.

The EEOC cited "the continuing impact of the pandemic on business operations" as the reason for the change. "We encourage eligible employers to file the required EEO-1 Component 1 reports as soon as possible," the agency said.

Under federal law, businesses with at least 100 employees and federal contractors with at least 50 employees plus a contract of $50,000 or more with the federal government generally must file the EEO-1 form each year. 

The form asks for information about the number of employees who work for the business sorted by job category, race, ethnicity and sex. The EEOC uses information about the number of women and minorities companies employ to support civil rights enforcement and analyze employment patterns, according to the agency.

Don't Wait

"Employers still rushing to finalize and upload their 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 reports by the prior Aug. 23 deadline will certainly welcome this extra breathing room," said Laura Mitchell and Christopher Patrick, attorneys with Jackson Lewis in Denver, in a joint statement. But even with the extension, they said, employers would be wise to continue finalizing their reports with urgency. 

"This year, the EEO Joint Reporting Commission must review and approve each company's 2019 filing before it may file its 2020 data, which also must be approved," they said. "This, among other things, has caused delays in certifying filings this year. As the deadline approaches, beware of this added step and be sure to plan ahead."

Limit Calls to Help Desk

The EEOC is asking filers to only contact the EEO-1 help desk once for the same issue and to be patient as the filer support team works through the requests. "We will ensure that all filers will be able to file and that no one will be excluded," the agency said. 

"Filers making multiple contacts for the same issue via phone, e-mail, and online inquiry [or] from different e-mail addresses with the same employer are increasing the number of requests into the help desk, resulting in further delays."

No Federal Pay-Data Collection

The EEOC has said it does not intend to collect controversial pay data from Component 2 of the EEO-1 form, which was the source of a heated legal dispute in recent years. The agency will collect data for the EEO-1 form's well-established Component 1, which asks businesses to list their employees by job category, race, ethnicity and sex. 

Component 2 of the form requested employees' hours worked and pay information from W-2 forms, broken down by the same categories. The agency collected this data for 2017 and 2018 but decided not to collect it after that, concluding that the burden imposed on employers to gather the information outweighs the usefulness of the data for the agency.

The current administration, however, may reinstate the mandate. "I think we should anticipate that some form of pay data and hours worked will be required in the future," said Cheryl Behymer, an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Columbia, S.C. This will likely be a focus for President Joe Biden's administration, she said, noting that the current director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Jenny Yang, was formerly an EEOC commissioner and an advocate for the EEO-1 Component 2 reports. The OFCCP also uses EEO-1 reports in its audit process.

In the meantime, employers should note that some states have enacted their own pay-data reporting requirements.

Compliance Tips

The EEO-1 filing is very detailed, and employers need to figure out how to capture the data correctly, Behymer said. "Be sure you are giving yourself adequate time so that if you are working with a third-party vendor to receive your data, you have a good opportunity to review it prior to filing," she said.

Employers can file their reports through an online form or a data file upload. The online filing system is new this year and will require minor account setup by employers. Amanda Bowman, associate principal consultant with HR risk management firm DCI Consulting Group in Washington, D.C., recommended that, even if covered employers are not ready to file, they should set up their account in case they have questions that would require support from the EEOC.

Brian Barger, an attorney with McGuireWoods in Charlotte, N.C., said the data provides a snapshot of an employer's demographic makeup to the federal government and to other parties if the reports are produced during agency reviews or private litigation. "Be diligent, but don't overdo it," he suggested, noting that perfection is not required. There are only federal penalties for making "willfully false statements."

[Want to learn more about EEO compliance? Join us at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2021, taking place Sept. 9-12 in Las Vegas and virtually.]



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