Press Release

Commissioners Vote to Approve Compliance Manual Rescissions and Opinion Letter During Public Meeting

WASHINGTON – During its first remote Commission meeting today, EEOC Commissioners considered three policy items.

The first item the three-member Commission considered was an opinion letter explaining how EEOC-enforced laws do not prevent employers from using the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which aims to encourage employers to hire and train people who are experiencing severe difficulties that are often linked to unemployment. To qualify for the WOTC tax credit, the law requires employers to obtain official confirmation of job applicants’ WOTC status before the employer makes an offer of employment. Past informal discussion letters addressing the lack of conflict between the WOTC and EEOC-enforced laws could not be relied upon as a defense in court. This formal opinion letter provides a defense under Title VII and the ADEA, and persuasive authority under the ADA, because it is a written interpretation or opinion of the Commission. The vote was 2-1 in favor of the Commission issuing a formal opinion letter.

The Commissioners also considered the rescission of Section 604 of the EEOC’s Compliance Manual, Theories of Discrimination. EEOC Compliance Manual Section 604 contains statements of the law that are no longer accurate.  Subsequent EEOC guidance provides more detailed and up-to-date discussions of the same principles.  These documents include, but are not limited to, the Compliance Manual Section on Race Discrimination (2006), Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities (2007), Compliance Manual Section on Religious Discrimination (2008), Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues (2015), and Enforcement Guidance on National Origin Discrimination (2016).  The vote was 2-1 in favor or rescinding Section 604.

The Commissioners also rescinded Appendix C, Section 604, Polygraph Examinations.  The document was considered for rescission because it is rarely used. The motion to rescind Section 604, Appendix C, passed by a 2-1 vote.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its public web site at www.eeoc.gov.