Late last month, in the culmination of almost a year’s work, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) adopted a four-year strategic plan for 2012-16.

The three stated goals of the plan are to: 

  1. Combat employment discrimination through strategic law enforcement 
  2. Prevent employment discrimination through education and outreach 
  3. Deliver excellent consistent service through a skilled and diverse workforce and effective systems 

While those goals are no surprise, the actual vehicles which the agency will use to deliver them remain somewhat a mystery.  However, by late 2012/early 2013, after public comments are taken into account and the actual plans are put to a formal vote by the Commissioners, employers everywhere will have a much clearer idea of what the Commission will be focusing on.  Rest assured, however, that the EEOC will likely spend a great deal of time in the next several years targeting “systemic” discrimination, as it has recently by holding hearings on whether there is a disparate impact on groups like the unemployed, or those with criminal histories.

In addition, the EEOC’s website clearly demonstrates that enforcement in the coming years will continue to be a primary focus of the agency’s new plan, with a particular emphasis on helping “vulnerable workers and underserved communities.”  

The final aspect of the Commission’s plan worth mentioning is the increased use of technology in case investigation and to streamline processes.  In particular, the EEOC wants to focus its use of  technology to help flush out and identify discriminatory polices or practices among its own brethren – federal agencies – since they are the largest employer in the country and exert substantial influence on practices in the private sector.

While the EEOC hasn’t quite been in the headlines as much as, say, the National Labor Relations Board has during the last 12-18 months, it has been more active as an agency in general, and the form its strategic plan takes once ultimately approved bears watching by employers everywhere.

Tracey Eberling focuses her practice in the area of litigation, with a concentration in the defense of institutions, professionals, insurance companies and governmental entities.
» See more articles by Tracey B. Eberling
» Read the full biography of Tracey B. Eberling at Steptoe & Johnson

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