Thursday, May 17, 2007

EEOC issues new EEO-1 Form for 2007

As most companies should be aware, the EEO-1 Report is a confidential government form required of employers with 100 or more employees or with 50 or employees and with government contracts of $50,000 or more. It requires those employer to annually provide to the Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs a count of their employees by job category and by ethnicity, race, and gender. The annual deadline for filing September 30. You may not be aware, however, that for the 2007 filing year the EEOC has approved a revised EEO-1.

The new EEO-1 Report subdivides the current job category for “Officials and Managers” into two levels based on responsibility and influence within the company: Executive/ Senior Level Officials and Managers (who plan, direct and formulate policy, set strategy and provide overall direction; in larger organizations, within two reporting levels of CEO), and First/Mid-Level Officials and Managers (who direct implementation or operations within specific parameters set by Executive/Senior Level Officials and Managers; oversee day-to-day operations). It also moves business and financial occupations from the Officials and Managers category to the Professionals category, for the express purpose of improving data for analyzing trends in mobility of minorities and women within Officials and Managers.

The revised form also makes a number of changes to the race and ethnic categories. The revised EEO-1 report: adds a new category titled "Two or more races"; divides "Asian or Pacific Islander" into two separate categories; renames "Black" as "Black or African American"; renames "Hispanic" as "Hispanic or Latino"; and strongly endorses self-identification of race and ethnic categories, as opposed to visual identification by employers.

Separate and apart from the new categories, the self-identification aspect of the new EEO-1 Form is the most intriguing facet of this new program. The EEOC wants to employers to shy away from visually identifying employees' race and ethnicity, ostensibly to avoid stereotyping, and instead is encouraging employers to ask employees and new hires to self-identify. The EEOC endorses what it calls the "Two Question Format." Employers are first to ask if an employee is Hispanic or Latino (ethnicity), and second ask what race/races the employee considers himself or herself to be. The EEOC even goes so far as to suggest that employers may ask, but are not required to ask, employees to specify particular races instead of simply checking “Two or More Races.” Even if, however, employees supply detailed race data, employers should count such employees in the “Two or More Races” category on the new EEO-1. This process should make for some very interesting workplace conversations as we get closer to the September filing deadline.