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Senate Votes to Roll Back Trump-Era EEOC Conciliation Rule

May 19, 2021, 5:10 PM

The Senate voted in favor of repealing a rule finalized late in the Trump administration that dictates how a U.S. civil rights agency resolves workplace discrimination claims as an alternative to litigation.

The Senate voted 50-48 on Wednesday to reverse the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s “conciliation” rule by way of the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to annul agency rules finalized by past administrations. The EEOC rule required the agency to turn more information over to employers during a dispute resolution process known as conciliation.

The House has yet to vote on the resolution. The Senate already has voted to overturn two other regulations under the CRA: the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s “true lender” rule and the Environmental Protection Agency’s methane rule.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that the EEOC rule “actually makes it harder for victims of discrimination to get justice.”

“Rather than force employees to sue in court, where well-heeled corporations can afford high-priced lawyers and the plaintiff has almost no chance at winning, conciliation gives the EEOC the power to fight on workers’ behalf against discriminatory behavior and win some speedy and effective results,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spoke out against nullifying the rule on Tuesday.

“This helps ensure the Commission is making a good-faith effort to see if the dispute can be settled outside of court before beginning a costly, adversarial process,” he said. “Apparently even these modest steps were too much for my friends on the Democratic side.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Paige Smith in Washington at psmith@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com

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