Question:

My company added several employees to its payroll last year. I recently received a notice regarding “Employer Information Report EEO-1” saying I must give demographic information about our employees to the federal government. With all the scams I hear about these days, I thought I’d make sure this is legitimate. Do I need to complete the form?

Answer:

Yes, assuming your company has 100 or more employees, or if your company has 50 or more employees and a federal contract amounting to at least $50,000, the law requires you to file the EEO-1 form on an annual basis. Online reporting is the preferred method of submitting the EEO-1 report, and there is a special procedure for first-time filers. The deadline for filing is September 30th. This requirement does not apply to state and local governments, most schools, tribes, and tax-exempt private clubs other than labor organizations.

The EEO-1 form is a two-page document for an employer to report the number of employees by race/ethnicity, gender, and job category. The race and ethnic designations have changed slightly over the years, and are currently listed as Hispanic or Latino, White, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Two or More Races. The count for each designation is given by job category, described as Executive/Senior Level Officials and Managers, First/Mid Level Officials and Managers, Professionals, Technicians, Sales Workers, Administrative Support Workers, Craft Workers, Operatives, Laborers and Helpers, and Service Workers.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Labor have been collecting these employment statistics since 1966. The agencies use the data to analyze employment patterns relating to women and minorities within companies, industries, and regions. The EEOC sometimes uses the data to enforce civil rights laws if the annual EEO-1 report shows a discriminatory pattern or practice.

The information you provide should be kept confidential and never connected to any particular employee. The EEOC and Department of Labor are not allowed to disclose the information to the public in a manner that would identify the employer, except as to federal contractors. The EEOC may publish statistics that have been aggregated by industry or area.

You are required to base your EEO-1 report on a pay period in July, August, or September, and provide information about your employees during that period. You may acquire the information necessary for completion of the EEO-1 report through voluntary post-hire surveys allowing employees to self-identify or through visual surveys of the workforce. If you do a self- identification survey, provide an explanation about the voluntary nature of the survey and the use of the information. The EEOC’s suggested language for the survey can be viewed in the instruction booklet available at
www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo1survey/2007instructions.cfm.

Maintain all EEO-1 data separately from employees’ personnel files or other files readily accessible to managers responsible for personnel decisions. Submission of the EEO-1 report is required by law; it is not optional for large employers. The EEOC has authority to seek a court order to compel compliance with the reporting requirement. Those who willfully make false statements in the EEO-1 report may be fined or imprisoned.

For additional information, and to submit the report online,
go to www.eeoc.gov/eeo1survey.
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