On Wednesday, September 17 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), held a legislative hearing on the EEOC Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 4959), the Litigation Oversight Act of 2014 (H.R 5422), and the Certainty in Enforcement Act of 2014 (H.R. 5423).
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. At a recent oversight hearing, witnesses shared growing concerns with various EEOC regulatory and enforcement actions. For example, “guidance” finalized in 2012 limits employers’ use of criminal background checks during the hiring process. The subcommittee also examined EEOC’s increasing reliance on systemic discrimination cases and the commission’s delegation of its litigation authority to the Office of General Counsel. In response to these concerns, a number of legislative proposals have been introduced:
- H.R. 4959, introduced by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), would increase EEOC transparency by, among other provisions, requiring the commission to post on its website and in its annual report any case in which the commission was required to pay court sanctioned fees or costs.
- H.R. 5422, introduced by Rep. Walberg, would require EEOC commissioners to approve by majority vote all EEOC-initiated litigation involving multiple plaintiffs or allegations of systemic discrimination.
- H.R. 5423, also introduced by Rep. Walberg, would provide a safe harbor to employers complying with federal or state mandates, such as a law requiring criminal background checks.
See: TESTIMONY OF PROFESSOR MICHAEL FOREMAN, DIRECTOR, CIVIL RIGHTS APPELLATE CLINIC, PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY, DICKINSON SCHOOL OF LAW
"Chairman Walberg, Ranking Member Courtney and members of the Subcommittee, I thank you for the opportunity to express my views on the proposed legislation. Unfortunately, however well intended, these proposed changes to the federal employment discrimination statutes are unnecessary, premature and in practical effect, would thwart the effective law enforcement function of the EEOC."
To learn more about the hearing, visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.