With the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission not operating because of the ongoing partial federal government shutdown, do employers still need to file their EEO-1 reports with the agency by the end of March? The answer is: Maybe.
Attorney James A. Patton of the law firm of Ogletree Deakins says the EEOC originally had planned to open the 2018 EEO-1 filing website during the second or third week of January 2019, with a planned filing deadline of March 31, 2019. But more recent information suggests that the EEOC had more recently planned to open the EEO-1 filing website at the end of this month.
The EEO-1 filing cycle for 2017 had begun Jan. 24, 2018, with a filing deadline set for March 31, 2018. In April 2018, the deadline was extended to June 1, 2018. No explanation was given for extending this deadline. However, there were changes to the filing website, including the implementation of extra security measures, as well as delays in responses to mergers and acquisitions and spin-off requests. The 2017 EEO-1 filing website closed on Oct. 1, 2018.
As the government shutdown grinds on, the opening date for the EEO-1 filing website remains in doubt. Even after the shutdown ends, it is unknown how long it will take to bring the 2018 EEO-1 filing website online. Presumably there is background work that would normally have been done during the time that EEOC employees are furloughed.
If so, the commission will need to do additional work after the shutdown ends before the filing website can open.
At this point, Patton says it seems likely that the expected March 31, 2019, deadline for 2018 EEO-1 filings will be extended, providing affected private employers and government contractors and subcontractors more time to complete their 2018 EEO-1 filings. As employers await the filing website’s opening, they may want to gather employment data from the fourth quarter of 2018 to be used to complete their 2018 filings, he suggests.
Agreeing with Patton is Arthur Tacchino, an attorney and chief innovation officer at SyncStream Solutions, a vendor of federal compliance reporting solutions for employers. “Due to the shutdown, much of the work that needs to be done for the portal to be brought online cannot get done and will need to be completed once a resolution is reached that fully or partially funds the government. This means that it is likely the portal will not open on time, and it is also likely the March 31 deadline will be pushed back as well.”
What will be the new deadline? It’s anyone’s guess, says Tacchino, “At this point in time we don’t know; however, last year’s deadline was extended by the EEOC to June 1, 2018. This could be the new deadline for the 2018 EEO-1 filings, but it’s contingent on when the government shutdown ends.”
Required for more than a half century, the EEO-1 report is not intended to be used to target individual employers. Instead, the data gathered is supposed to help EEOC form new policies and regulations. Required to file are employers with more than 100 employees, and all federal contractors or subcontractors with more than 50 employees.
The Trump administration version of the EEOC dialed back a vast extension of the reporting requirements. Under those requirements adopted by the Obama EEOC but later withdrawn, employers were expected to supply W-2 income data for the number of employees in each of 10 different job categories. They then had to categorize their compensation in 12 different annual pay bands ranging from about $19,000 to more than $208,000.