EEOC Settles Lawsuits Against New Jersey Employers Over Title VII Data Collection

Federal and New Jersey employment laws protect workers from discrimination on the basis of factors like race, sex, and religion. State law includes more protected categories than federal law, but both statutes give rather broad authority to government agencies to investigate alleged unlawful practices by employers. At the federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 authorizes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to pursue enforcement actions directly or give employees approval to file civil lawsuits. The statute directs certain employers to file reports with the EEOC containing demographic data about their employees. The agency recently filed lawsuits against at least fifteen employers, including two in New Jersey, for failing to file these reports on time. It settled both New Jersey lawsuits within a few weeks of filing.

Section 709(c) of Title VII and EEOC regulations require employers with one hundred or more employees to file annual reports regarding the gender and race/ethnicity of their workforces. The EEOC states that it uses the data in these reports to assist in enforcement and research activities.

The EEOC does not require employers to keep records in any specific form. It does, however, require covered employers to use a form known as the EEO-1 Component 1 data report to submit demographic information. EEOC regulations note that employers’ recordkeeping practices should comply with other state and federal laws regarding discrimination and employee privacy.

Report EEO-1 is due in early June of each year. The EEOC provides a one-month grace period that ends in early July. The deadline for the 2023 report, for example, is July 9, 2024. After this date, the EEOC will not accept reports for 2023 and will consider covered employers that missed the deadline to be “out of compliance.” It can ask federal courts to compel employers to file delinquent reports.

The EEOC sued two employers in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in late May 2024 in connection with failures to file Report EEO-1 on time for two consecutive years. The first lawsuit, filed on May 23, alleged that a Passaic County employer failed to file reports for 2021 or 2022. It further alleged that the EEOC was unable to notify the defendant of its 2022 delinquency because of outdated contact information. The parties entered into a consent decree, which the court approved on June 12.

The second lawsuit, filed on May 28, made similar claims against a Somerset County business. The defendant allegedly failed to file reports for 2021 and 2022, although it kept its address current with the EEOC. The court approved a consent decree on June 10.

The two consent decrees had similar terms. Each defendant must submit reports within a few weeks. They must also appoint an EEO-1 Reporting Monitor to oversee the reporting process and make separate reports to the EEOC. The decrees will remain in effect for five years.

The skilled and experienced employment lawyers at the Resnick Law Group advocate for the rights of New Jersey and New York employees who have endured unlawful workplace discrimination. Please contact us at 973-781-1204, at 646-867-7997, or online today to schedule a confidential consultation to see how we can assist you.

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