Scott Calls for Passage of Resolution to Restore Access to Justice for Victims of Workplace Discrimination

June 24, 2021
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of S.J. Res 13, a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval that would nullify the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s conciliation rule.

“Thank you, Madam Speaker.  I rise today in support of Senate Joint Resolution 13, a Congressional Review Act resolution disapproving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, Conciliation Rule.  This resolution will help ensure fairness for those who bring forth charges of unlawful workplace discrimination.

“When the EEOC has found that an employer likely violated the law, it is required—under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—to engage in conciliation before filing a lawsuit.  This conciliation process is meant to be an informal and confidential opportunity for parties to settle a charge of discrimination in lieu of going to court.

“Unfortunately, in the final weeks of the Trump Administration, the EEOC issued a final rule that imposed onerous new requirements on the conciliation process.

“Under the new rule, the EEOC must provide an employer with a written summary of the facts and the non-privileged information the EEOC relied on to determine that the employer violated the law.  Notably, the rule requires the EEOC to expose the identities of workers or groups of workers for whom relief is being sought, unless they proactively request anonymity, and their witnesses.

“This new rule will put a thumb on the scale in favor of employers in cases where the EEOC found that they likely violated workers’ civil rights.

“Specifically, the rule incentivizes employers to focus on litigation on whether the EEOC failed to satisfy the rule’s new requirements, instead of whether the employer engaged in unlawful discrimination.  In fact, settlements have been more likely since the Supreme Court ruled that this conciliation process should be informal, unlike the rule that was promulgated late in the Trump Administration.

“This will allow unscrupulous employers to drag out the conciliation process possibly for years—and even avoid accountability altogether—by just litigating over whether the EEOC complied with the conciliation rule, rather than correcting the discriminatory practice.

“The EEOC rule also conflicts with the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Mach Mining v. EEOC.  It was a unanimous decision that held that the EEOC must have the discretion to use whatever informal means of settlement are appropriate in each individual case.  However, under the new rule, a rigid conciliation process will apply across the board, one-size-fits-all, in every case of workplace discrimination.

“This solution will likely lead to increased retaliation against victims of discrimination and witnesses as well as needless delays in justice for workers.

“We know that justice delayed is justice denied.  That is why civil rights leaders and worker advocates across the country have called on Congress to pass this Congressional Review Act resolution and restore fairness for victims of workplace discrimination.

“Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to enter into the record a Statement of Administration Policy from the Biden Administration in support of S.J Res 13.

“Thank you, Madam Speaker.  I urge my colleagues to support this resolution and I reserve the balance of my time.”