Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
This Annual Report on EEOC Developments—Fiscal Year 2019 (hereafter “Report”), our ninth annual publication, is designed as a comprehensive guide to significant EEOC developments over the past fiscal year. The Report does not merely summarize case law and litigation statistics, but also analyzes the EEOC’s successes, setbacks, changes, and strategies. By focusing on key developments and anticipated trends, the Report provides employers with a roadmap to where the EEOC is headed in the year to come.
This year’s Report is organized into the following sections:
Part One examines the increased focus on pay equity. This opening chapter provides an overview of applicable law under both the federal Equal Pay Act and Title VII; discusses the patchwork of equal pay legislation at the state and local levels; summarizes recent EEOC investigation activities, litigation, and settlements involving unequal pay claims; offers an update on the status of the EEOC’s compensation data collection efforts and increased efforts involving pay transparency in the U.S. and abroad; and provides practical suggestions to assist employers in reducing the risks of pay inequity litigation and/or remediating pay inequities, where appropriate. A review of recent EEOC litigation involving pay equity claims is included as Appendix A to this Report.
Part Two outlines EEOC charge activity, litigation and settlements in FY 2019, focusing on the types and location of lawsuits filed by the Commission. More details on noteworthy consent decrees, conciliation agreements, judgments and jury verdicts are summarized in Appendix B to this Report. A discussion of cases in which the EEOC filed an amicus or appellate brief can be found in Appendix C.
Part Three focuses on the changing composition of the EEOC, its regulatory activities, and other agency priorities and initiatives. This chapter includes a discussion of current and planned formal rulemaking, the status of pay data collection efforts, as well as steps the Commission has taken to streamline its informal guidance.
Part Four summarizes the EEOC’s investigations and subpoena enforcement actions, particularly where the EEOC has made broad-based requests to conduct class-type investigations. Case law addressing the EEOC’s authority to do so is discussed in this chapter as well. Appendix D to this Report is a companion guide, summarizing select subpoena enforcement actions undertaken by the EEOC during FY 2019.
Part Five of the Report focuses on FY 2019 litigation in which the EEOC was a party. This discussion is broken into several topic areas, including: (1) pleading deficiencies raised by employers; (2) statutes of limitations cases involving both pattern-or-practice and other types of claims; (3) the state of employer challenges based on the EEOC’s alleged failure to meet its conciliation obligations prior to filing suit; (4) intervention-related issues, both when the EEOC attempts to enter a case through intervention and when third parties attempt to join as plaintiffs in EEOC-filed lawsuits; (5) class discovery issues in EEOC litigation, including the scope of discovery in class-based or pattern-or-practice cases, and the use of experts; (6) general discovery issues involving both employers and the EEOC in litigation between the parties; (7) favorable and unfavorable summary judgment rulings, which also are summarized in greater detail in Appendix E; (8) trial-related issues; and (9) circumstances in which courts have awarded attorneys’ fees to prevailing parties.
Appendices A-E are useful resources that should be read in tandem with the Report. Appendix A includes information on EEOC case filings involving pay equity claims. Appendix B includes summaries of significant EEOC consent decrees, conciliation agreements, judgments, and jury awards. Appendix C highlights appellate cases where the EEOC has filed an amicus or appellant brief, and decided appellate cases in FY 2019. Appendix D includes information on select subpoena enforcement actions filed by the EEOC in FY 2019. Appendix E highlights notable summary judgment decisions by claim type.
We hope that this Report serves as a useful resource for employers in their EEO compliance activities and provides helpful guidance when faced with litigation involving the EEOC.
Click here to read a full copy of the Report.