The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently posted information on the EEO-1 landing page stating that the 2021 EEO-1 filing platform is tentatively scheduled to open on April 12, 2022, with the filing deadline tentatively set for May 17, 2022. This approximately four-week filing period is significantly shorter than the length of time provided for recent EEO-1 filing periods. For instance, the 2017 EEO-1 filing period opened on January 24, 2018, with an initial deadline of March 31, 2018, while the 2018 EEO-1 filing cycle opened on March 31, 2019, and had an initial deadline of May 31, 2019. For the most recent EEO-1 filing cycle, which covered filings for both 2019 and 2020, the filing platform opened on April 26, 2021, and had an initial filing deadline of July 19, 2021, which was extended several times until a final deadline of October 25, 2021, was set. Looking at recent EEO-1 filing periods in which reports from a single year were collected, one would have expected an approximately eight-week filing period for the 2021 EEO-1 data collection, but the EEOC appears to be prepared to collect all 2021 EEO-1 reports in approximately four weeks.

While the EEOC has extended EEO-1 filing deadlines recently, the agency’s setting of this short collection period for the 2021 EEO-1 reports represents a major change that could result in even more pressure on employers that were forced to deal with a difficult EEO-1 filing cycle in 2021 that extended late into last year. Last year’s EEO-1 filing cycle was difficult for a variety of reasons: the implementation of a new filing platform; the paper mailing of new login information; a long backlog in processing merger, acquisition, and spinoff requests resulting in a change to that process late in the filing cycle; and the difficulties of dealing with numerous company and personnel transitions during two pandemic-impacted years.

An additional factor that may make the 2021 EEO-1 filing cycle challenging is the need to complete the reconciliation process for 2019 and 2020 mergers, acquisitions, and spinoffs that were not processed during 2021. Another change for 2021 is that employers that previously used the streamlined Type 6 reports favored by large employers will now be forced to use the more data intensive Type 8 reports for establishments with less than 50 employees.  The EEOC has provided a fact sheet, titled “EEO-1 Component 1 Fact Sheet: Report Types,” discussing the discontinuation of the Type 6 report as well as discussing the available EEO-1 report types for the 2021 filings. While the hope is that many of the new EEO-1 filing platform kinks will have been ironed out for the 2021 EEO-1 filings, the EEOC’s tentative decision to set such a short filing period suggests that this year’s EEO-1 filing cycle will remain challenging. These concerns over the upcoming EEO-1 filing cycle come as many employers are gearing up for a seemingly year-round set of compliance filings including not only EEO-1s, but also the 2021 California pay data reports due on March 31, 2022, the 2022 VETS-4212 reports due on September 30, 2022, and work on new state filing obligations, such as the employer reporting requirements under Illinois law. Employers that file EEO-1 reports may  find it prudent to have their EEO-1 data ready and waiting once the filing platform opens in anticipation of the potentially shortened filing window.

Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report developments with respect to these compliance requirements and will post updates on the Affirmative Action / OFCCP, Government Contractors, and State Developments blogs. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.