November 1, 2020 – SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) Director Kevin Kish performed on Friday a multiple jurisdiction lawsuit challenging the arbitrary and unlawful decision of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to revoke unrestricted access to federal employment data held by state and local Employment Fair Agencies (FEPAs), including DFEH , to be used to monitor and combat discrimination in the EU workplace. The agencies use employment data to identify priorities for researching and enforcing civil rights laws protecting workers, including those that address persistent gender and racial pay gaps in the workplace.
“Good policy and effective enforcement are based on the facts.” said Attorney General Becerra. “Instead of doing what is absolutely necessary to help enforce anti-discrimination protection, the Trump administration is going in the opposite direction, hampering state and local civil rights agencies. This latest move is a clear reminder that the President either does not understand or does not appreciate worker protection. Regardless, this does not excuse his failure to comply with the law. We’re going to see the Trump administration in court. “
“Systemic inequalities require systemic enforcement efforts.” said DFEH director Kish. “EEOC’s refusal to share data undermines our interest in investigating potential violations of equal employment opportunities for all Californians, even if individuals may or may not be able to file complaints.”
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) requires the EEOC to provide FEPAs, upon request and free of charge, with employment data obtained from an employer under the jurisdiction of FEPA in order to facilitate efforts to effectively combat discrimination on Support workplace. Recently, in violation of Title VII, the EEOC abandoned its long-established practice of disclosing all data in the Employer Information Report EEO-1 (EEO-1) within the jurisdiction of a FEPA and is now refusing to provide information until one certain employer is already being investigated. EEO-1 contains statistical data on the composition of an employer’s workforce by gender, race and ethnicity. For example, with unrestricted access to statewide data, DFEH can identify trends and enforcement priorities to more effectively protect the civil rights of all Californians. When the change was announced, the EEOC did not participate in the formal regulatory process, as prescribed in the Administrative Procedure Act, and, among other things, falsely claimed that the new rule was “current” practice in March 2020. This latest arbitrary move is part of a broader pattern by the EEOC under the Trump administration to restrict access to critical employment data, including efforts to block the collection of summary income data for employees by gender, race, ethnicity and occupation.
The California Department of Justice and the DFEH are committed to protecting the civil rights of people living in California and across the country. Last year, Attorney General Becerra and Director Kish led a tiered amicus letter in support of a lawsuit protecting the collection of demographic information vital to tackling wage discrimination. The attorney general also filed a letter of opinion against a proposal by the US Department of Education to restrict the collection of civil rights data in schools. He also joined an amicus letter in successfully defending critical protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which limit discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or transgender status. Earlier this year, Attorney General Becerra urged Facebook to take additional steps to combat the spread of hatred and disinformation online. DFEH is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. DFEH’s mission is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing and public housing, as well as from hate violence and human trafficking.
California is assisted by the Attorney General of Maryland and Minnesota and the Department of Human Rights of Minnesota in filing the lawsuit.
You can find a copy of the lawsuit here.
Source: CA. DOJ