Retailers Submit Comments on EEOC Wage Reporting Proposal

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Compensation reporting proposal is flawed and should be withdrawn, said the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) in comments submitted to the Commission.

The proposal, issued in January, would require businesses with 100 or more employees to report compensation data for ten job classifications broken down by race, ethnicity and gender. Compensation data would need to be provided for extremely broad job categories, such as professionals, technicians and sales employees, without regard for the range of job skills within each category, or in some cases, the regional differences in compensation. The administrative burden would be tremendous, potentially requiring businesses to provide thousands of data points for every location.

“RILA and its members strongly support equal employment opportunity and have adopted policies that prohibit discriminatory practices, including discrimination in compensation. Although we support the EEOC’s efforts to enforce the law against bad actors, we do not believe that the Commission’s proposed revisions to the EEO-1 Report will be useful in this endeavor. Instead, if adopted, the proposal will likely lead to enforcement efforts based on “statistics of interest” that require significant resources to investigate (and defend) but that will ultimately be found to be unrelated to any unlawful conduct.” said RILA Vice President for Government Affairs Kelly Kolb in comments submitted late last week.  

Among the issues identified by RILA is that the proposal is unlikely to identify unlawful pay practices, because summary compensation data is a poor means for comparing differently situated individuals who may be swept into the same category, such as a retail salesperson and a real estate agent. In its comments, RILA notes that a similar data collection effort undertaken by the U.S. Department of Labor between 2000 and 2004 was ultimately discontinued when it was discovered that summary compensation data failed to identify discrimination.

“The EEOC’s proposal fails to recognize the substantial shortcomings of the resulting data,” said Kolb. “Requiring businesses to provide potentially thousands of data points for each location will not illuminate discrimination, instead it will only provide attractive fodder for those who are eager to use it to mislead.”  


RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad. 

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