The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s first-ever uniform collection of race and gender pay data from U.S. businesses has been closed by a federal judge in Washington.
For now, the closure ends one chapter in a years-long clash between businesses, equal pay advocates, and federal agencies over effective ways to shrink pay gaps for women and minorities, while balancing the burden placed on businesses.
The EEOC began collecting the data in July 2019 as part of its EEO-1 report, which employers must submit annually describing the jobs, races, genders, and ethnicities that make up their workforces.
Chutkan required the EEOC to collect two years of pay data by an initial deadline of Sept. 30. That deadline was pushed back to Jan. 31, when the judge determined that more employers should still submit the data. The judge didn’t clarify how much more information was necessary to close the collection.
More than 89% of all eligible employers had turned over the data to the agency by Feb. 7. The EEOC and the equal pay advocates jointly agreed that the agency could “wind down” the pay data collection. The agency must still, however, file a final status report on Feb. 14, Chutkan said.
The EEOC declined to comment on the order.
Though the collection is complete, the EEOC and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget are still appealing Chutkan’s rulings. The government claims that she overstepped her authority by reviving the Obama-era pay reporting requirement—which the Trump administration blocked in 2017—and dictating how and when the collection should occur.
The case is Nat’l Women’s Law Ctr. v. OMB, D.D.C., No. 1:17-cv-02458, Order 2/10/20.