The EEOC has published its draft strategic plan for fiscal years 2012 – 2016. A quick Ctrl-F for the word “systemic” reveals 16 different hits in this relatively short document.
“Systemic” cases, according to the EEOC, are those that “address a pattern, practice or policy of alleged discrimination and/or class cases where the alleged discrimination has a broad impact on an industry, profession, company, or geographic area.” The identification, investigation, and litigation of this category of cases remains a “top priority” of the agency. When the EEOC publishes the final version of its strategic plan, expect to see a target percentage of systemic cases in the agency’s litigation pipeline.
What does this mean for employers? It means that company-wide policies that have the potential affect certain groups more than others very much remain on the EEOC’s enforcement radar. What are some of these issues for employers to heed:
- Arrest and conviction records
- Work-life balance and the plight of working moms
- Religious accommodations and “look” policies
- Leave of absence policies
- Credit histories
- Employment status
Keep an eye on these issues, because you can bet the EEOC will be (at least for the foreseeable future).