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Press Release 10-17-2016

EEOC Updates Strategic Enforcement Plan

Commission Reaffirms Priorities and Strategies for Securing Strategic Impact

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently approved an updated Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for Fiscal Years 2017-2021, reaffirming the agency's commitment to efforts that have strategic impact in advancing equal opportunity in America's workplaces. 

"This SEP builds on the EEOC's progress in addressing persistent and developing issues by sharpening the agency's areas of focus and updating the plan to recognize additional areas of emerging concern," said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang. "The solid foundation laid by the Commission's first SEP positions the EEOC to concentrate on coordinating strategies and solutions for these core areas to ensure freedom from workplace discrimination," noted Chair Yang. 

EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2021 continues to prioritize the areas identified in its previous SEP, with some modifications: 

  • Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring;
  • Protecting vulnerable workers, including immigrant and migrant workers, and underserved communities from discrimination;
  • Addressing selected emerging and developing issues;
  • Ensuring equal pay protections for all workers;
  • Preserving access to the legal system; and
  • Preventing systemic harassment.

 Notable updates made by this SEP are the addition of two areas to the emerging issues priority:

1) issues related to complex employment relationships in the 21st century workplace; and 2) backlash discrimination against those who are Muslim or Sikh, or persons of Arab, Middle Eastern or South Asian descent, as well as persons perceived to be members of these groups, as tragic events in the United States and abroad have increased the likelihood of discrimination against these communities. The lack of diversity in technology and the increasing use of data driven screening tools, highlighted by recent Commission meetings, are also recognized as focus areas within the priority on barriers to recruitment and hiring.

As the Commission reinforces its efforts to address pay discrimination based on sex, this SEP also includes combatting pay discrimination that persists based on race, ethnicity, age, and for individuals with disabilities.

The SEP also emphasizes coordinated strategies across the EEOC to leverage the agency's resources and promote good government.  An integrated approach promotes broad sharing and consideration of ideas, strategies, and promising practices and furthers collaboration and coordination throughout the agency.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcement federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment.  More information is available at