EEOC Contemplates September 30th Deadline for Component 2 Pay Data But Warns of Significant Risks of Unreliable Data Comparisons

Despite some initial news stories to the contrary, uncertainty still remains as to whether and when employers will be required to submit Component 2 pay data to the EEOC. See our prior posts here and here. On March 19, 2019, the parties in National Women’s Law Center v. Office of Management and Budget, No. 17-cv-2458 (TSC) (D.D.C.), participated in a status conference at which they discussed precisely when the EEOC planned to collect Component 2 pay data. The court asked the EEOC why it could not require employers to file Component 2 data by either May 31, 2019, the deadline by which employers are required to submit Component 1 data, or September 30, 2019, the expiration date of the authorization to collect Component 2 data under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

The EEOC filed a response on April 3, including a declaration from its Chief Data Officer and Director of the Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA), Dr. Samuel (Chris) Haffer. According to the response, the EEOC faces “significant practical challenges” with collecting Component 2 pay data because its current data processes are programed to collect 140 data fields for Component 1, while the Component 2 report requires 3,360 data fields. The EEOC said that it would take nine months to modify the EEOC’s current processes to collect Component 2 data. Accordingly, the EEOC determined that the only alternative to collect Component 2 data by September 30, 2019, would be to use a contractor at a cost in excess of $3 million.

Dr. Haffer also stated that even if a contractor did collect Component 2 data by September 30, the proposed expedited timeline also “raises significant issues with data validity and data reliability.” The EEOC has not conducted a true pilot study of the Component 2 data collection measures, instrument, or processes, and there are “limited quality control and quality assurance measures.” Dr. Haffer warned that there exists a “significant risk that employers would not be reporting comparable data that can be used by the government or others in meaningful comparisons or analyses.”

In sum, uncertainty remains as to whether employers will be required to submit Component 2 data by September 30, 2019. Stay tuned for additional updates.