The second day of the NILG 2023 National Conference did not disappoint. The day kicked off with regional ILG’s breakfasting with their respective OFCCP Regional Directors followed by a keynote address from EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows.
Chair Burrows opened her remarks by thanking NILG for being a “steadfast partner” in the important work EEOC does to ensure equal employment opportunity and that all Americans are “treated with basic human dignity in the workplace.” She noted there is a “great deal of work left to be done” as the Agency tries to fulfill the promise of equality but declared EEOC is doing everything it can.
Specifically, Chair Burrows discussed EEOC’s focus on “tackling systemic discrimination in all of its forms” which includes the Agency’s 5 year strategic enforcement plan, developing guidance on how to handle harassment after the Me Too movement, Bostock, and the pandemic. She also described the Agency’s focus on the construction industry which she recognized is “new” for the Agency.
With respect to a topic on everyone’s mind, pay data reporting, Chair Burrows reported the Agency is carefully considering the National Academy of Sciences’ report to ensure they “get this right.” She declined to say much more as not to “get ahead of the Commission’s process” but previewed we will be hearing more from the Agency as it seeks stakeholder input as part of its process. She did state she believes pay data reporting is “something they are moving towards.”
Chair Burrows went on to speak about the various inter-agency partnerships EEOC has and described in detail the work it is doing in connection with several initiatives including the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
In closing, Chair Burrows recounted the way the publication of Martin Luther King’s Letters from a Birmingham Jail came about and reflected that implementation of those “things that matter, the things that make a difference”, maybe tedious but “when you put it all together at the end its magical.”
As was the case with Day 1, Day 2 of the conference was packed full of informative and thought-provoking sessions, including an Agency update, several discussions about artificial intelligence, the impact of the United States Supreme Court Students for Fair Housing decision and implications for DEI programs amongst others.
As we head into the evening’s festivities and prepare for the final day of the conference its hard to not reflect on Chair Burrows’ final remark of the morning that the work we undertake “will make amazing differences in the workplace.”