Recently, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued a Consensus Study Report using data the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) collected from information private employers and federal contractors provided in the EEO-1 form. The EEOC is entrusted to enforce federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.

Here are some key findings from the study, according to the EEOC:

  • Federal pay data collection is necessary to find and fight pay discrimination effectively. There is currently a lack of transparency surrounding wages. Collecting data is key to understanding pay practices and the differences in compensation.
  • The pay data the EEOC collected may help the agency better focus its resources to identify potential pay discrimination. While the data collected is not detailed enough to clearly define employers who are engaged in pay discrimination, it may be useful to help allocate resources for further investigation. No other federal data collection has captured the same information from private employers, making this a useful tool moving forward.
  • The National Academies’ panel found significant pay gaps among Silicon Valley firms worthy of further investigation. Several examples of specific, unnamed employers found extreme pay gaps based on race, sex and/or ethnicity compared to their industry counterparts. While not conclusive, the pay disparities found in the tech sector provide useful information to use in further investigations.
  • The EEOC achieved high response rates—about 90%, approximately 70,000 employers in each collection year—for this first-time data collection. This high response rate could inform more pay equity findings and encourage other employers to participate in future data collection as well.

Next Steps

The National Academies recommends the EEOC take steps to broaden and strengthen its data collections to advance pay equity. The findings also suggested short- and long-term refinements to any future pay data collections to enhance the agency’s ability to identify and remedy pay discrimination.

Today, many employers are striving to improve pay equity. Employers should continue to monitor updates from the EEOC to learn more about pay equity and enforcement.

Contact HR&P today for more resources on EEOC enforcement.

The content of this News Brief is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It should not be regarded as legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. © 2022 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.