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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”) recently approved a new Strategic Enforcement Plan to establish national enforcement priorities and provide more transparency for employers who may find themselves the subject of EEOC investigations.  After soliciting public and internal recommendations, the EEOC approved a plan that identifies six specific areas in which the agency believes increased enforcement will result in the most change. 

These national priorities include:

  • Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring;
  • Protecting immigrant, migrant and other vulnerable workers;
  • Addressing emerging and developing employment discrimination issues;
  • Enforcing equal pay laws;
  • Preserving access to the legal system; and
  • Preventing harassment through systemic enforcement and targeted outreach.

In addition to these national priorities, the plan also calls for the development of local and federal sector priorities to address particular issues that are prevalent in either a specific geographic location or within the federal sector.

The plan places a renewed emphasis on pay equity, an issue that was a highlight of the recent presidential campaign.  Several legal commentators have speculated that employers should expect more vigorous investigations of pay claims, during which the agency is more likely to seek more information from employers and analyze pay data more aggressively than they ever have before.

The plan is available here.