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EEOC proposes tracking of payroll data to detect discrimination patterns

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Friday it proposes to start collecting pay data from employers with more than 100 workers in an effort to identify possible pay discrimination.

The agency said in its statement that it plans to ask for this information as a revision to its Employer Information Report.

It said the revised EEO-1 will be announced Friday in conjunction with the White House's commemoration of the seventh anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Act.

That measure, which President Barack Obama signed into law with great fanfare on Jan. 27, 2009, as one of his first acts in office, says every paycheck resulting from a previous discriminatory pay decision constitutes a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

EEO-1 data provides the federal government with workforce profiles from private-sector employers by race, ethnicity, sex and job category, according to the EEOC.

The revision would add aggregate data on pay ranges and hours worked to the information collected, beginning with the September 2017 report. The proposed changes, will be officially published in the Federal Register on Monday, and members of the public will have until April 1 to submit comments.

The EEOC said the new pay data would provide the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs with insight into pay disparities, and the agencies will use this data to assess complaints of discrimination, focus agency investigations and identify existing pay disparities that warrant further examination.

“More than 50 years after pay discrimination became illegal, it remains a persistent problem for too many Americans,” said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang, in the statement. “Collecting pay data is a significant step forward in addressing discriminatory pay practices. This information will assist employers in evaluating their pay practices to prevent pay discrimination and strengthen enforcement of our federal anti-discrimination laws.”