Day 2 of the 2019 ILG National Conference in Milwaukee started with a favorite guest – EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic. Commissioner Lipnic last addressed the ILG National Conference in 2016, during which time, as she reminded attendees, she was likewise talking about pay data reporting, she had just created the Chief Data Officer role at EEOC and it was several months before the breakout of the #metoo movement.
With respect to the new EEO-1 Component 2 pay data reporting tool, or the “elephant in the room” as she called it, Commissioner Lipnic shared insights and history about the litigation, Court’s Order and how we got where we are today.
She expressed to conference-goers that
the goal is to have everyone comply by the end of September
to satisfy Judge Chutkan’s Order. She additionally acknowledged that collection of the data is “not easy”; that having to go back to 2017 “is not in any way easy” but that is “what a federal judge has ordered.” In Commissioner Lipnic’s opinion,
this is no way for public policy to be made.
From this, she offered a bit of advice of a lesson learned by the agency:
If you want your interests to be heard, you must intervene.
She went on to explain how the agency is going to “take a breath” and learn from what they get in the data – to undertake “an honest assessment”. She desires a bipartisan and open process to learn about the utility and burden associated with the report, and encouraged participants to keep track of the burden associated with filing the required reports. In her view,
balancing burden and utility is what good policy should be about.
Reflecting back how the agency dealt with issues in the past, she recounted “we took our time to think about it.”
During a subsequent conference session on the modernization of the EEOC, EEOC’s Chief Data Officer, Chris Haffer, answered a few questions about the Component 2 reporting, including whether there would be an “automatic extension” of the September 30th reporting period. At this time, Dr. Haffer said there would be no automatic extension. He also mentioned that “data clean up” would likely take until at least January 2020 after which the files would go to EEOC for analysis of data quality and utility.
Following her remarks on pay equity, Commissioner Lipnic turned to another of her favorite topics – age discrimination. She pointed out that “millennials are just a few years away from being covered by the Age Discrimination Act.” She also touched briefly on the fact of the 10 year anniversary of the ADA Amendments Act, which increased protections for individuals with disabilities.
As part of a generous Question and Answer session, Commissioner Lipnic answered a particularly simple, yet probing question: As federal contractors, what do you want us to focus on? Her response was equally as simple and thought-provoking. She encouraged contractors to “lead the way in recruiting for populations you traditionally have not gone to before.”
Commissioner Lipnic concluded her remarks by reciting an inscription from the George Washington Masonic National Memorial:
Let prejudices and local interest yield to reason. Let us look to our National character, and to things beyond the present period.