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3 lessons learned from EEO-1 reporting

If you’re an organization with at least 100 employees, and therefore required to file an EEO-1 form – a two-page document that includes a detailed breakdown of the race, gender, and ethnicity of your employees – with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the last thing you want is to be unprepared this reporting season. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this is a common dilemma for companies when preparing their EEO-1 reporting.

The best way to prevent a situation like this from happening is to avoid putting yourself in this position to begin with. Fortunately, there’s still time to get back on track.

Due to the recent government shutdown, the deadline to file has been pushed back to May 31, 2019, and the EEO-1 portal is set to open on March 18, 2019. But this extension doesn’t mean you should waste any time getting ready to report. It’s more important than ever to make sure your employee information is accurate and that you’re prepared to file correctly.

So what better way to ensure you’re doing everything correctly, than by recognizing and learning from issues companies faced last year. And make no mistake, there were lessons to be learned from 2017 EEO-1 reporting. These three stand out the most.

Vendors can’t e-file your report for you

Did you know the EEOC can’t receive e-filings sent directly from a third-party vendor? Last year, many employers didn’t, and they were in for a rude awakening when it was time to file.

As it turns out, you have to log on to the EEO-1 website and make sure your company has the proper credentials before you’re even allowed to report. If you use a program or third-party vendor to produce the report for you, they cannot automatically push the file through to the EEOC.

Therefore, while there is e-filing, remember that someone within your organization must upload the file/report and submit it directly through the EEOC webpage.

You’re not obligated to track salary requirements, but you probably should

At one point, the EEOC was going to collect a new data set as part of the EEO-1 report for 2017.

This new form was going to require employers to report additional information, including an employee’s job title and description, number of hours worked, and pay based on set wage ranges. However, this plan was scrapped when Obama left office.

And yet, this about-face on policy caused quite a bit of confusion in 2017, as employers were unsure what they needed to track. Some companies even stopped paying attention to EEOC requirements altogether. This is a problem.

Although you’re not required to report this salary information, there’s a good chance the EEOC will require you to do so in the future. Which is why it’s probably a good idea to properly track your employees’ wage data now, so you don’t have to scramble when this likely addition to the EEO-1 returns.  

Get a head start on preparing your EEO-1 information

Despite the EEO-1 filing deadline being extended two months (from March 31 to May 31), ideally, you should have all your information prepared this month and be ready to file as soon as possible. Make sure you’re keeping accurate company records. Ensure your employees’ names are spelled correctly, so if you’re ever required to do so, you can provide the EEOC with documentation that shows exactly how your employees “self-reported.”

Unlike when you fail to comply with ACA regulations, the EEOC doesn’t send out penalty letters. So, technically, there’s no confirmation that you’re reporting incorrectly or not meeting EEOC requirements.  However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences for violations.

Major companies like Bass Pro Shops, UPS, and Ford have all paid large settlements to the EEOC for violations in the workplace, including discrimination. If you’d like to avoid the possibility of paying fines in the millions, you need to ensure you’re staying true to EEOC standards. For, as you’ve seen, everything’s fine and dandy – until the EEOC shows up to collect.