Scott, Murray Act to Undo Unfair, Anti-Worker Rule Favoring Employers in Workplace Discrimination Cases; Restore Fair Process for Workers to Enforce Their Rights

March 23, 2021
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), House Committee on Education and Labor, and Chair Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, filed resolutions of disapproval against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) “conciliation” rule. This rule tips the scale in favor of employers within EEOC’s process for settling claims the EEOC has already established have merit, making it harder for workers—tens of thousands of whom file discrimination charges with EEOC each year—to enforce their workplace rights.

When workers bring credible claims of discrimination to the EEOC, they deserve a fair process that protects their rights and shields them from retaliation,” said Chairman Scott. “Unfortunately, the new rule forces the EEOC to abide by a strict formalized process that was previously struck down by the Supreme Court six years ago and would strip the EEOC of the flexibility to act in the best interests of workers.  By repealing this rule, Congress will eliminate wasteful litigation that would cause substantial delays or even deny justice for victims of discrimination.”

“This unfair, anti-worker rule was designed to tip the scales in favor of employers when workers try to make sure their rights on the job are enforced. There’s absolutely no reason it should stay on the books,” said Chair Murray. “We’ve got momentum on our side to restore a fair process where workers can be heard, and that’s what we’re going to do.”  

On January 14, 2021, over strong objections from the civil rights community, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) finalized, by a 3-2 party-line vote, a rule that makes it easier for employers to delay, deny, or retaliate against workers through EEOC’s process for settling meritorious claims of employment discrimination. The rule went into effect February 16, 2021. 

The rule’s rigid requirements undermine the potential for successful settlements and impairs the EEOC’s capacity to investigate and remedy discrimination. Specifically, the rule:

  • Gives employers unfair advantages in litigation by allowing them premature access to information about the worker’s case,
  • Increases the risk of retaliation by making it easier for employers to demand the identities of victims and witnesses, and
  • Is expected to increase backlogs of cases due to burdensome new process requirements.

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