The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published a new, four-year Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP), which makes a number of noteworthy changes to the agency’s current national enforcement priority areas. In a press release accompanying the new 2017-2021 SEP, EEOC Chair Jenny Yang describes it as building on the agency’s “progress in addressing persistent and developing issues” by fine-tuning its priority areas and “updating the plan to recognize additional areas of emerging concern.”
The new SEP refines the EEOC’s “emerging issues” priority to focus on the use of job qualification standards and leave policies to unlawfully discriminate on the basis of disability; the use of temporary workers, staffing companies and independent contractors; and backlash discrimination on the basis of religion and ethnicity, especially against those who are (or are perceived to be) Muslim or Sikh or of Arab, Middle Eastern, or South Asian ancestry.
The new SEP also doubles down on a controversial policy that delegates significant authority to the EEOC’s general counsel to decide which cases to litigate. Notably, David Lopez, who has served as the EEOC’s general counsel for the last six-and-a-half years, announced recently that he will be leaving the agency in December, meaning that these critical litigation decisions will be made by his successor.
A copy of the EEOC’s updated 2017-2021 SEP is available here.
Members of the Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC) can read more here.