Alexander, Roberts call for disapproval of request for data from private-sector employers

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) led a call on Tuesday for disapproval of a request for data on compensation and hours worked from 61,000 private-sector employers.

In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Alexander, Roberts and U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) called for disapproval of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) request for the data. The EEOC request would require 61,000 employers with more than 100 employees to annually submit workforce data, including race, gender and job category.

The Paperwork Reduction Act requires the OMB to review and approve the request before it is implemented.

Alexander, Robert and Isakson argued in their letter that the EEOC request does not comply with bill requirements to “minimize paperwork and reporting burdens on the American public” and to “ensure the maximum possible utility from the information collected.”

“The pending proposal would increase this data collection twenty-fold from 180 to 3,660 for each employer’s establishment,” the letter states. “In total, EEOC would be collecting up to nearly three billion data fields according to one estimate — in no way ‘minimiz[ing] paperwork and reporting burdens on the American public.’”

While the EEOC has stated that the data will help to identify illegal wage discrimination, the legislators argued that the EEOC does not make clear how it will be able to accomplish that goal.

“To add to our concern with this proposal, EEOC has a track record of pursuing high-profile lawsuits without complaints, while facing an ever-increasing backlog of actual complaints,” the letter states. “In fact, courts have found EEOC’s litigation tactics to be so egregious they have ordered EEOC to pay defendants’ attorney’s fees in at least 13 cases since 2011 and criticized EEOC for misuse of authority, poor expert analysis, and pursuit of novel cases unsupported by law.   Meanwhile, EEOC has a backlog of more than 76,000 unresolved complaints of discrimination. The proposal is likely to worsen that backlog as EEOC will now be sifting through the billions of pieces of new data instead of focusing on its mission of investigating complaints of discrimination in the workplace.”

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