Remarks of Cynthia Pierre

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Meeting of November 16, 2005, Washington D.C. on Operations in Wake of Hurricane Katrina and Revisions to EEO-1 Report

Good Morning, Madam Chair, Madam Vice Chair, Commissioner Silverman, Commissioner Ishimaru, colleagues and guests. My name is Cynthia Pierre and I am Director of Field Management Programs in the Office of Field Programs. I was asked to give a brief statement today on how the EEO-1 is used in investigations, how its use has changed over the years, and what other tools investigators use in investigating systemic, class and individual discrimination. Having served most of my career in the field, including as a systemic investigator at one point and most recently as a district director, I would like to share my views on the topic by describing what approaches an investigator typically takes in conducting a systemic, a class, and an individual harm case, in particular, an individual harm case that has potential for expansion into a class case.

Systemic and class cases, most often, grow out of ongoing investigations of individual charges, although outreach efforts and information provided by interested and knowledgeable third parties also lead to systemic investigations or investigations of pattern or practice and other class cases. For example, in launching the investigation of a hiring or promotion case, we generally start with a request for a position statement from the employer along with particularized information including copies of workforce profiles annotated with race, gender, and job title for the relevant facility or facilities, and copies of applicant flow logs if the employer is a federal contractor. If the employer is required to file an EEO-1 report, copies of the most recently available EEO-1 reports are accessible on the investigator's desktop. This is a change from the past when investigators would have to request copies of the reports from the employer or from EEOC headquarters.

An on-site visit to the employer's facility would also be scheduled to allow a visual survey of the employee population, review applications on hand, and interview witnesses. The investigator also may review the agency's charge data base for similar allegations against the same employer. Additionally, an investigator may use the EEO desktop software and the EEO Census to conduct labor market analyses, compare the employer's profile with that of comparable employers in the relevant labor market and determine the existence of statistically significant disparities, seeking assistance from HQ's Office of Research and Information Planning, if needed. At most, however, the investigator can only obtain a broad brush analysis of a company's workforce from EEO-1 data. Analyses by census occupational codes are needed to pinpoint particular job hiring or promotion patterns over time.

Many hiring and promotion cases involve small employers who are not required to file EEO-1s. Also, many employers in the construction and agricultural industries do a lot of hiring but often are too small to file EEO-1s. Depending on the type of employer, the investigator may obtain information on staffing from financial databases, annual reports, company newsletters, news and trade press articles, employer and industry websites, voluntary affirmative action plans, other government records, etc. Of course, a key, and sometime overlooked, source of information about an employer's workforce is a charging party and/or the charging party's witnesses. Charging party and witness information on employer policies or practices sometimes provide leads that compel expansion of an investigation from a single facility to a regional or nationwide scope.

As you can see, it is usually more effective to take a multi-pronged approach to gathering data on an employer in order to get the most refined picture possible of its operations and its practices. In the 1970s and 1980s, there were several, largely unsuccessful attempts at EEOC to use EEO-1 reports to identify employers with low representation of women and minorities. We found that EEO-1 analyses alone often provided results that could not be sustained by field investigations and did not justify the amount of time devoted to conducting the analyses. However, combined with other data sources and conducted at an appropriate stage in an investigation, the EEO-1 is a useful investigative tool.

This page was last modified on November 17, 2005.