Employment partner Christopher DeGroff was quoted in an article appearing in the March 12 online edition of Human Resource Executive. The article provided highlights for a 2012-2016 strategic plan recently released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
According to Chris, who is also co-chair of Seyfarth’s complex discrimination practice group, the plan would combine the EEOC’s investigation and litigation arms, a move he says would result in an “integrated, holistic approach to enforcement from beginning to end, without separating the investigation and conciliation stage of the EEOC’s work from its litigation stage.” In effect, this would erase the line between the two, with investigations likely serving as “launching pads for future litigation,” Chris remarked. This would be a departure from what the EEOC was originally intended to do, he said, which was to “allow employers to look at policies and issues [that may be discriminatory] and informally resolve them before litigation.”
Another component of the plan aims to have increasing, yearly target percentages of the agency’s litigation docket be systemic cases. Chris comments that this essentially establishes a quota for litigating systemic discrimination cases, and the results could be far reaching. “Cases of alleged systemic discrimination are very high stakes, they can sometimes be nationwide, they’re very expensive for employers, and I would not want to see the EEOC bringing these types of cases to meet some sort of internal metric,” he said.
To read the entire article, click here: http://blog.hreonline.com/2012/03/12/the-eeocs-worrisome-four-year-plan/