Chances are, if one of your employees complained externally about discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was all up in your company’s business. Perhaps your business has had the not-so-good fortune of undergoing a Fair Labor Standards Act or Family and Medical Leave Act audit from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Late last week, the two federal watchdogs announced a partnership.
It’s all in this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the purpose of which is to “maximize and improve the enforcement of the federal laws” these agencies administer and “encourage enhanced law enforcement and greater coordination between the agencies through information sharing, joint investigations, training, and outreach.”
The agencies intend to share information in complaints and investigative files, reports that employers file and data they produce (e.g., EEO-1 Reports or FLSA records), and statistical analyses or summaries.
Enhanced law enforcement and greater coordination could be something as simple as advising employees that they may be able to file a charge or complaint with the other agency and explain how to do it.
Overlap between federal laws that advance equal employment opportunity and fair pay could involve both agencies working together. But, the lowest-hanging fruit may be the recently enacted PUMP Act and Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. In Dec. 2022, President Biden signed both measures into law on the same day. When employers are in the crosshairs of both agencies, the EEOC and DOL will coordinate conciliation/settlement and the publicity of it.
The EEOC and the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division will train each agency’s staff in identifying cases and issues that may arise under the other’s jurisdiction. And yes, they’ll engage in joint outreach and public education, share or co-develop training materials and programs, or develop joint policy statements and technical assistance documents when appropriate.
The MOU will remain in effect indefinitely unless terminated by either side on 90 days’ written notice.