- Employers mulling public diversity data disclosures should first answer several questions to avoid detracting from their goals and creating litigation risk, an employment law attorney warned Aug. 30.
- Public disclosure of workforce demographic data should not be a “given” for employers, E. Phileda Tennant, senior associate at Vinson & Elkins LLP wrote in a blog post for the firm. Instead, an employer should take an individualized approach and weigh several considerations, including the fact that public disclosures are not mandated. If an employer decides to move ahead with a public disclosure, Tennant said, it’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach: Employers should note that public disclosures need not be in the same format as federal reports, for example, and that data can be framed with goals.
- “When done thoughtfully, DEI disclosures can have significant value to a company’s stakeholders, including by demonstrating commitment, credibility and progress in diversity to its employees,” Tennant said.
Social pressure has driven many employers to make internal DEI data public in recent years. Employees, customers and shareholders all have called for business to share their metrics, and some have heeded that call.
Many have coupled those numbers with context about goals and year-over-year improvement. Target, for example, made public a goal to increase Black representation across the company by 20% by 2023 and has discussed its progress publicly.
Given that many employers already must compile such data, it may make sense that some are eyeing the benefits of making that information public. Some federal contractors, however, may soon see that data made public without the benefit of added context. A Freedom of Information Act request seeking EEO-1 reports could result in disclosures, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs warned stakeholders last month; those affected have until Sept. 19 to object.