This month, the  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its 2024-2028 Strategic Enforcement Plan. The plan sets the EEOC’s specific subject matter priorities for the next four fiscal years. Broadly, the EEOC’s enforcement efforts include equal employment opportunity (EEO) protections for all protected classes under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and other federal EEO laws. Last month, the EEOC adopted its 2022-2026 Strategic Plan. While the Strategic Enforcement Plan covers specific, focused target areas, the EEOC’s Strategic Plan provides an overall framework for how the agency plans to operate in order to achieve its mission.

Background of the EEOC Strategic Enforcement Plan

In summary, the Strategic Enforcement Plan serves as a framework for achieving the EEOC’s mission to prevent and remedy employment anti-discrimination laws through enforcement activities. The EEOC’s mission also includes using education and outreach to prevent employment discrimination and advance equal employment opportunities. The agency creates the plan every four fiscal years using three values that form the basis of the agency’s culture and guide its daily work:

  • commitment to equal employment opportunity,
  • accountability, and
  • integrity.

The EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan lays the foundation for developing more detailed annual plans, budgets, and related program performance information in the future.

2024-2028 Strategic Enforcement Plan

According to the EEOC, its 2024-2028 Strategic Enforcement Plan updates and enhances its earlier Strategic Enforcement Plan, informed by public feedback. In response to what the agency recognizes as a national call for racial and economic justice, the EEOC’s plan focuses on combatting pay discrimination and advancing equal pay. Additionally, the agency will continue efforts to prevent discrimination, prevent and remedy systemic harassment, and prevent retaliation. Other changes in the 2024-2028 Strategic Enforcement Plan include the following:

  • A focus on discrimination, bias, and negative sentiment towards religious minorities, racial or ethnic groups, LGBTQI+ individuals, and individuals with Long COVID;
  • Protecting additional categories of workers who are currently underserved by federal EEO laws;
  • Continued enforcement of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and other protections for pregnant workers;
  • Further efforts to address the underrepresentation of women and people of color in construction, manufacturing, finance, technology, science, engineering, and mathematics;
  • Continued focus on artificial intelligence tools in hiring and other employment decisions; and
  • Preserving workers’ rights to pursue legal remedies by limiting non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements.

Altogether, the 2024-2028 Strategic Enforcement Plan is a continuation of the priorities and progress the EEOC has made over the last Fiscal Year or so. The EEOC also encouraged employers to continue proactively identifying barriers to equal employment opportunity and fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace.