The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is dedicating trial resources to six national priorities, according to Christina Stoneburner of Fox Rothschild. She reports that EEOC trial attorney Jeffrey Burstein recently spoke at her firm about these top issues:
1. Eliminating recruitment and hiring barriers: “steering,” or the practice of guiding minority applicants to lower-paying position or ones with less job growth, will be on the forefront of the EEOC’s focus, says Stoneburner.
2. Protecting vulnerable workers: these include farm workers, migrant workers and workers in isolated areas, explains Fox Rothschild’s Richard Cohen.
3. Emerging and developing issues: Stoneburner describes this priority as a catchall, which includes sex stereotyping claims and Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act policies.
4. Equal pay law: There’s a renewed push in the area of enforcing the Equal Pay Act, says Stoneburner. Although bills to make it more difficult for employers to defend claims died in the face of the floundering economy, she says there’s more impetus in the area now.
5. Access to justice: The EEOC will be scrutinizing employment agreements and other contracts or policies that prevent the employee from suing the employer.
6. Preventing systemic harassment: “These are ‘class’ and multiple plaintiff cases and are going to be the expensive ones for employers to defend,” says Stoneburner.