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High Tech Companies and Applicant Screening Tools Draw More Attention

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced on Monday that it recently approved an updated Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for fiscal years 2017-2021.  “This SEP builds on the EEOC’s progress in addressing persistent and developing issues by sharpening the agency’s areas of focus and updating the plan to recognize additional areas of emerging concern,” said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang. “The solid foundation laid by the Commission’s first SEP positions the EEOC to concentrate on coordinating strategies and solutions for these core areas to ensure freedom from workplace discrimination,” noted Chair Yang.

Notable updates made by this SEP are the addition of two areas to the emerging issues priority: 1) issues related to complex employment relationships in the 21st century workplace; and 2) 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. The 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. The updated SEP also includes combatting pay discrimination that allegedly persists based on race, ethnicity, age, and for individuals with disabilities.

The EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2021 modifies the areas identified in its previous SEP by including the following:

  • - 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;
  • - Preserving access to the legal system; and
  • - Preventing systemic harassment.

The updated SEP also continues to prioritize those areas included in the prior SEP.

As always, employers should remain alert to the EEOC’s SEPs in order to understand its enforcement protocol and to be proactive in those areas being addressed by the EEOC to either avoid, or reduce, EEOC investigations.

For more information on this or other employment related issues, please contact Joseph F. Spitzzeri at [email protected].