EEOC bills discussed at hearing, in attempt to promote greater transparency, accountability

some witness expressed concerns about the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s enforcement actions at an oversight hearing in June, the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections arranged a hearing last month to review three potential new pieces of legislation that would affect how the EEOC can enforce and regulate businesses that are trying to comply with state and federal anti-discrimination laws. That hearing took place on Sept. 17. During the hearing, Rep. Tim Walberg, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, said, “[The EEOC] has spent a great deal of time and resources advancing a deeply flawed enforcement and regulatory agenda … employers have fallen under EEOC’s intense scrutiny without any allegation of employment discrimination.” Walberg encouraged the creation and support of legislation that would oversee enforcement and assist employers in complying with local, state and federal laws. The hearing covered three pieces of legislation, including the EEOC Transparency and Accountability Act, and the Certainty in Enforcement Act. The former would require the EEOC to post publicly any mandatory court-sanctioned costs it pays on its website; the latter, once passed, would provide a “safe harbor” for employers working to comply with regulations about the hiring process, particularly in regards to background checks. The Certainty in Enforcement Act would also help to clarify existing background check laws and the EEOC’s guidance in the process as businesses complete checks without discriminating against any group. Former EEOC staff member Lynn Clements testified that the existing guidance “fail[s] to provide a clear path for employers.” Another witness said that the bill would assist in keeping EEOC guidelines from interfering with or overriding state and city laws. Not everyone was so thrilled with the potential new laws. Professor Michael Foreman, who is the Director of the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic at the Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University, testified that the new regulations would “weaken the EEOC’s effectiveness” in enforcing anti-discrimination laws. For more information about the laws that were discussed, check out the memo regarding the pending bills.]]>

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