Who Was Behind the Move to Halt Reporting Rules on Equal Pay?

In its aggressive campaign to roll back efforts advanced in recent years to close the gender wage gap, the Trump administration now is politicizing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency that was created more than 50 years ago by Congress to enforce the nation’s laws against discrimination in employment.

 On Wednesday, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the EEOC seeking records concerning the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) recent decision directing the civil rights agency to halt implementation of its new pay data collection initiative.  Set to go into effect in March 2018, the initiative updated the EEO-1, a form used by the government to collect information from certain employers about the gender, race, and ethnicity of their employees by job category.  The updated EEO-1 would have required these employers to also provide information about the wages they pay their employees.  Separately on Wednesday, the National Women’s Law Center and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights also filed several FOIA requests with OMB about the decision to stay the new EEO-1 data collection.

The new pay data would have better equipped the EEOC and other federal law enforcement entities to assess wage disparities for protected groups, and identify companies that might be engaging in pay discrimination.  In addition, the process of collecting the data would require employers to examine their own pay practices -- which far too many are content to put out of sight and out of mind. The exercise of self-auditing in this way is a recognized best practice in eradicating pay discrepancies, one that some companies have undertaken voluntarily, with positive results.   

Last month, OMB summarily announced that the pay data would not be collected after all. In a memo to the EEOC, OMB told the agency to start from scratch to develop a new mechanism for reviewing pay data, stating that it “is concerned that some aspects of the revised collection of information lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues.” But it provided no explanation of how or why it reached that conclusion. All we know is that prior to the OMB’s announcement, business groups, including the Equal Employment Advisory Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Roundtable, had requested that OMB stop the EEOC from implementing the pay data reporting requirements. 

This decision, reached behind closed doors, without public input, and lacking any evidentiary support, stands in sharp contrast to the rigorous, multi-year deliberative process that led to the EEOC’s adoption of the new EEO-1.  The FOIA request is intended to pull back the veil and shine a spotlight on this administration’s decision-making process, including any undue influence exerted by business when it comes to workers’ civil rights.   

OMB’s move is only the latest action under this administration to undermine workplace equality. In March, with President Trump’s blessing, Congress withdrew an executive order issued by President Obama that required businesses to disclose prior labor violations, including equal pay violations, to be eligible to receive federal contracts. And the president is "revisiting" a recent Labor Department rule raising the income threshold for overtime pay, a policy change that would have  particularly  benefited women in low-wage occupations.

As the EEOC considers new pay data measures to propose to OMB, it’s critical that advocates for workers, especially women and women of color, hold accountable the current EEOC commissioners as well as the two new nominees, Janet Dhillon and Daniel Gade, whom Trump has nominated to serve on the EEOC.  Although neither nominee has deep experience in employment law, both said during a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that they are committed  to finalizing the EEOC data collection process within a reasonable time.  

The Trump administration may hope to keep the true scope of our nation’s economic disparities in the shadows. But the ACLU won’t stand idly by.  We’re working to ensure that any new employer pay data collection requirements are not watered-down, and that the decision-making process is transparent.


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Women's advocates have long insisted employers pay women less than men for doing exactly the same work in the exact same occupations and careers, working side-by-side with men on the same job for the same organization, working the same number of hours per week, traveling the same amount of time for work obligations, with the same exact work experience and education, with exactly the same level of productivity.

If the advocates know women are paid less, working women surely know it. So where are the millions of lawsuits? If the women don't know they're paid less, and the advocates do (how would THAT have happened?!), why haven't the advocates notified them? And why haven't they named the employers to embarass them and helped the women sue?

It's mostly ideological noise to help secure female votes for Democrats.

Here's why that's true:

Although insisting women are paid less for the exact same work, women's advocates also seem to think employers are cut-throat competitors whose prime modus operandi is greed. ("Corporate greed" may be one of the Left's more salient rallying calls.)

Thus they no doubt believe employers would hire only illegal immigrants for their lower labor cost if they could get away with it (many do get away with it), or would move their business to a cheap-labor country to save money (many do this even more since "the onrush of globalization, which enables companies to find cheap labor abroad" http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/06/02/how_elites_got_us_i...), or would replace old workers with young ones for the same reason.

So why do these same advocates think "greedy, cut-throat employers" would NOT hire only women if, as they say, employers DO get away with paying females at a lower rate than males for the same work?

Many of America's most sophisticated women choose to earn less than their male counterparts:

"Female physicians worked about 5 hours fewer per week than their male counterparts through age 54...." https://www.aamc.org/download/426242/data/ihsreportdownload.pdf?cm_mmc=A...

“In 2011, 22% of male physicians and 44% of female physicians worked less than full time, up from 7% of men and 29% of women from Cejka’s 2005 survey.” http://www.amednews.com/article/20120326/business/303269974/1/

"...[O]nly 35 percent of women who have earned MBAs after getting a bachelor’s degree from a top school are working full time." It "is not surprising that women are not showing up more often in corporations’ top ranks." http://malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/why-women-are-leaving-the...

"Compared to men, women view professional advancement as equally attainable, but less desirable" http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/09/15/1502567112.full.pdf

"Women Dominate College Majors That Lead to Lower-Paying Work" -Harvard Business Review, April 19, 2017 https://hbr.org/2017/04/women-dominate-college-majors-that-lead-to-lower...

See other reasons the wage gap hasn't closed after thousands of measures over many decades:

"Salary Secrecy — Discrimination Against Women?" http://malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/salary-secrecy-discrimina...


More and more people have become aware of the real causes of the gender wage gap. (Read the growing number of comments at the end of reports on the gap.) Thus liberals' long-running, false wage-gap narrative has, I believe, helped hugely to create this:

"Republicans don’t have near as big a woman problem as Democrats have a man problem." WSJ http://www.wsj.com/articles/kim-strassel-america-is-war-on-women-weary-1...

And this:

"The whole Democratic Party is now a smoking pile of rubble: In state government things are worse, if anything. The GOP now controls historical record number of governors’ mansions, including a majority of New England governorships. Tuesday’s election swapped around a few state legislative houses but left Democrats controlling a distinct minority. The same story applies further down ballot, where most elected attorneys general, insurance commissioners, secretaries of state, and so forth are Republicans." http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/10/13576488/democratic-pa...


Well said...white men are superior to women! If women and minorities worked half as hard as a white man then they would be paid equally. Race War! Race War! ....and whites win, whites win again everybody!


It's a good thing this reporting requirement was rescinded, because it would have cost employers $400 million to comply, and produced mostly worthless data for misleading apples-to-oranges comparisons.

As CNS News noted,

"The White House Office of Management and Budget stated that the pay collection and reporting requirements 'lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues'...

"The Obama administration had claimed that rewriting the form to include 3,660 boxes for companies to check or fill out would help identify wage discrimination. But very little of the information it sought would have shed any light on potential wage discrimination. Even demonstrated differences in average pay between members of different groups are legally or statistically significant only when they compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges, by controlling for relevant factors that may explain the difference. (See the federal appeals court decision in Smith v. Virginia Commonwealth University, 84 F.3d 672 (4th Cir. 1996), and relevant language in the Supreme Court’s decisions in Ward’s Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio, 490 U.S. 642, 650-53 (1989) and Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469, 507 (1989)).

"In April 2017, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) urged President Trump to rescind the requirements of the Obama administration’s revised EEO-1 form. They observed that it would 'place significant paperwork, reporting burdens, and new costs on American businesses, and will result in few jobs created and higher prices for American consumers.' The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated that it would take the 61,000 covered employers a total of about 8 million hours and $400 million to complete the new forms mandated by the Obama administration."


These reporting requirements impose a massive cost on businesses and don't produce useful information. They want to ask a business to define every job in a government form and then manipulate the data to validate their ideologically pre-determined outcome of discrimination and sue employers. If there's one thing the ACLU seems to stand, it's this marxist doctrine that any deviation in social or economics outcomes is the result of discrimination and therefore justifies litigation to impose their preferred outcomes on society. They kick every other civil right to the curb in pursuit of that ideology. This rule was about maximizing their power and likeminded nanny statists. Perversion of justice.


Apparently the same men's rights activist has decided to post repeatedly to argue women *want* to earn less than men and that the less than millions of lawsuits indicate that women are okay earning less than men. He confuses what *is* with what *ought* to be and what women *want*.

The giveaway to his lack of credibility is his citation of CNS and his namesake blog site.

Eyeroll. Thank you, ACLU, for standing up for women's rights in the workplace.


If these verbose, misogynist right-wing trolls are so unhappy with the ACLU's work, they can slither back to friendlier environs at WSJ, Breitbart or InfoWars.

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