EEOC’s Enforcement Goals For Next Five Years

Volume: 22 | Issue: 42
September 26, 2023

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published its Strategic Enforcement Plan (Plan) for 2024-2028. Employers are wise to pay attention to the Plan because it identifies the types of charges the EEOC will prioritize and which may result in more aggressive enforcement efforts.

In addition to its current focus on “combatting pay discrimination and advancing equal pay, preventing and remedying systemic harassment, and tackling retaliation,” the EEOC will, in the next five years, focus on the following priorities:

  • target “discrimination, bias, and hate directed against religious minorities (including antisemitism and Islamophobia), racial or ethnic groups, and LGBTQI+ individuals”;
  • expand its focus to categories of workers “who may be unaware of their rights under equal employment opportunity laws, may be reluctant or unable to exercise their legally protected rights, or have historically been underserved by federal employment discrimination protections—such as people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; workers facing mental health related disabilities; individuals with arrest or conviction records; LGBTQI+ individuals; temporary workers; older workers; individuals employed in low-wage jobs, including teenage workers; and persons with limited literacy or English proficiency”;
  • combat discrimination in recruitment and job training/ advancement opportunities, including access to on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs, temp-to-hire positions, and internships;
  • target employers’ use of automated systems, including artificial intelligence, in recruiting and hiring;
  • prioritize the protection of workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, including under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, employment discrimination associated with the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including Long COVID, and technology-related employment discrimination; and
  • protect access to the legal system by targeting “overly broad waivers, releases, non-disclosure agreements or non-disparagement agreements.”

We encourage employers using computer programs to select new employees, monitor performance or determine pay or promotions to carefully review the EEOC’s May guidance on artificial intelligence and discrimination. Additionally, all employers should be particularly careful in preparing a response to a Charge of Discrimination in one of the above areas, as we expect the EEOC to take a more aggressive enforcement posture in those cases. If you need assistance with an EEOC or NERC charge, please contact a KZA attorney. 

KZA Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.

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