After years of criticism, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is now applauding the EEOC for focusing on “compliance assistance” rather than enforcement and litigation.
Randel K. Johnson, a senior vice president of the Chamber, “commends” the EEOC for “identifying efforts to focus resources on compliance assistance” in a letter submitted to the EEOC in connection with a draft of the EEOC’s proposed new strategic plan for 2018-2022. The Chamber is a conservative, profit-making group that lobbies the legislature and federal courts on behalf of business interests. It consistently opposes pro-labor measures.
In the letter, Johnson refers to the Chamber’s 2014 report to Congress in which the Chamber criticized the EEOC for “enforcement and litigation abuses.” The Chamber’s report came at a time when the EEOC was litigating the fewest number of cases in modern history and had completely ignored a major increase in age discrimination cases during and since the Great Recession. In 2013, the EEOC had filed 147 lawsuits, compared to 416 in 2005. But the Chamber’s report was an effective public relations ploy and seems to have had a big impact on the EEOC, which reduced its litigation efforts even further. The EEOC filed only 114 lawsuits in 2016 (of which only TWO contained age discrimination claims). Continue reading “The EEOC’s Surprising New Fan – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce”
The U.S. Department of Labor is challenging long-standing and overt discriminatory employment practices in the high-tech industry by threatening to cancel the alleged violators’ federal contracts.
In recent months, the DOL has sued Oracle America, Inc., Google Inc. and the startup, Palantir, for alleged discriminatory conduct. This follows years in which the DOL and the EEOC appeared to have adopted a “hands off” policy with respect to high-tech employers.
The DOL filed a lawsuit on Jan. 17 charging Oracle with allegedly paying white males more than other workers at its Redwood Shores, CA, headquarters. The DOL reported finding “gross disparities in pay even after controlling for job title, full-time status, exempt status, global career level, job specialty, estimated prior work experience and company tenure.”
The DOL also charged Oracle, which has 45,000 employees across the country, with heavily favoring Asian Indians in hiring and recruitment. The lawsuit alleges that 82 percent of new hires in a professional technical group at Oracle’s headquarters were Asian during a six-month period in 2013, even though only 75 percent of job applicants were Asian. The DOL noted that Oracle targeted Asian Indians in recruitment efforts that including referral bonuses.
Oracle allegedly discriminated against White, Hispanic, and African-American applicants.
Note: A major research study was released Monday finding “robust evidence of age discrimination in hirng against older women.” – Is It Harder for Older Workers to Find Jobs? New and Improved Evidence from a Field Experiment by David Neumark, Ian Burn, and Patrick Button
Age discrimination in hiring is epidemic in the United States and much of the reason for this is directly attributed to our own federal government.
It’s almost impossible for individuals to fight age discrimination in hiring because they lack access to critical information, such as the identity of the other candidates and why the successful candidates were chosen. A highly qualified older job applicant may suspect age discrimination but can’t prove it. The evidence is in the hands of the employer, who has no obligation to release it unless it is demanded pursuant to court-ordered discovery in a lawsuit. A lawsuit alleging age discrimination in hiring is almost certain to be dismissed prior to discovery if it is based solely upon speculation. It’s a vicious circle –> no information, no basis for a lawsuit -> no lawsuit, no ability to obtain information.
This is why it is incumbent upon the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor to protect workers from arbitrary discrimination in hiring. But the EEOC and DOL have virtually ignored the problem since it became an epidemic during the Great Recession of 2008.
The EEOC filed 12 lawsuits with age discrimination claims in 2014, compared to 76 lawsuits with Title VII claims (primarily race and sex discrimination) and 49 lawsuits with disability claims. The EEOC filed only 7 lawsuits with age claims in 2013.
Here are somes things that our government can do now to deter age discrimination in hiring:
The EEOC could require employers to provide age-related data, along with data on the race and gender of their employees, in their mandatory EEO-1 Reports, which are due at the end of this month. The EEOC could use this information to identify and prosecute corporate “bad actors” who refuse to hire older workers (i.e. Silicon Valley tech companies). If the EEOC does not accept that it has the regulatory authority to require employerss to provide age data, it could ask Congress for the authority.
The federal government could stop engaging in age discrimination in hiring. Not only does this hurt older workers but it sends a terrible message to private sector employers that age discrimination in hiring is warranted, reasonable, okay and will be tolerated.
U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez could withdraw his support for the “100,000 Opportunities Initiative” by America’s top corporations to hire workers between the ages of 16 and 24. This initiative blatantly violates the terms of the ADEA, which prohibits any consideration of age in hiring (except for a few categories of workers to which this does not apply).
President Barack Obama could rescind his 2010 executive order that permits federal agencies to discriminate against job applicants on the basis of age. After all, if the feds can do it, why can’t Silicon Valley?
The EEOC could acknowledge that complaints about age discrimination comprise almost a quarter of all of the complaints the EEOC receives annually but only a tiny fraction of the agency’s investigatory and prosecutorial resources are devoted to the problem. Age discrimination is no less harmful than other illegal and arbitrary discrimination so why does it get such short shrift from the EEOC?
On Monday, there were 1000+ jobs on Monster.com posted by employers and employment agencies seeking to hire “recent graduates” and 1000+ jobs advertising for a “digital native.” Technically, it is unlawful under the ADEA to print or publish a “notice or advertisement” indicating preferences or limitations relating to age. The overwhelming majority of recent graduates and digital natives are under the age of 40. But no one has been held to account in recent years for this widespread practice.