- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has enlisted the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) to assess EEO-1 Component 2 data from FY 2017 and 2018, the agency announced July 16. CNSTAT will finish its analysis by Dec. 31, 2021.
- The independent assessment will "answer critical questions about the data" and inform the Commission as it considers "the future of pay data collection," EEOC Chair Janet Dhillon said in a press release.
- CNSTAT will assess the data for its fitness of use, "including the utility of pay bands in measuring pay disparities," the agency said. The group also reviewed methods for measuring and collecting pay information for the Commission in 2012.
The Commission announced in November 2019 that it may adopt pay data reporting requirements for employers via rulemaking, noting it will consider the findings of a report it commissioned from the National Academy of Sciences. The agency said it expects to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in September 2020 with a two-month-long comment period to follow. Whether the agency will act on this remains unclear, considering the timeline laid out in EEOC's July 16 announcement.
Commissioner Charlotte A. Burrows previously forecasted that the data collected in the Component 2 report will be "very useful to the agency." "We don't reveal specifics about [the data] but we do have the opportunity to take it and use it in ways that are helpful," she said at a November 2019 conference.
It appears one way the Commission will use the data is to assess its collection in the future, per the announcement. Given the rocky history of Component 2, this may not come as a surprise. Preventing and addressing pay gaps is one of EEOC's six national priorities, but pay data collection has met a slew of practical and political challenges.
Under the Trump administration, the White House Office of management and Budget blocked the collection of Component 2 data, which prompted the National Women's Law Center to sue both it and EEOC in the spring of 2018. Ultimately, a federal district court judge reinstated the effort.
EEOC extended employers' deadline in April 2019 for EEO-1 reporting after its chief data officer expressed concerns that the agency's data processes could not collect the Component 2 data. "Instead, the EEOC has determined that utilizing a data and analytics contractor is the only alternative," the agency said in a brief.