The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently approved an updated Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for Fiscal Years 2017-2021, reaffirming the agency’s commitment to efforts that have strategic impact in advancing equal opportunity in America’s workplaces.

EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2021 continues to prioritize the areas identified in its previous SEP, with some modifications:

  • Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring;
  • Protecting vulnerable workers, including immigrant and migrant workers, and underserved communities from discrimination;
  • Addressing selected emerging and developing issues;
  • Ensuring equal pay protections for all workers;
  • Preserving access to the legal system; and
  • Preventing systemic harassment.

Notable updates made by this SEP are the addition of two areas to the emerging issues priority:

  1. Issues related to complex employment relationships in the 21st century workplace.
  2. Backlash discrimination against those who are Muslim or Sikh, or persons of Arab, Middle Eastern or South Asian descent, as well as persons perceived to be members of these groups, as tragic events in the United States and abroad have increased the likelihood of discrimination against these communities.

The lack of diversity in technology and the increasing use of data-driven screening tools, highlighted by recent commission meetings, are also recognized as focus areas within the priority on barriers to recruitment and hiring.

As the commission reinforces its efforts to address pay discrimination based on sex, this SEP also includes combating pay discrimination that persists based on race, ethnicity, age and for individuals with disabilities.