U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2012-2016, approved by the Commission in December 2012, requires the Commission to develop and approve a multi-year Research and Data Plan ("R&D Plan" or "Plan"). The Commission establishes this Plan for the years 2016-2019.
Implementation of each of the initiatives and projects identified in this Plan is subject to available resources, and a cost-benefit analysis, as determined by the Chair, in consultation with the Commission. The Commission may focus on research and data initiatives in addition to those identified here.
The Research and Data Plan for FY2016-2019 includes both short-term and long-term projects. It authorizes a series of data collection, reporting and research efforts to be undertaken, as resources permit, beginning in FY2016 and continuing if necessary into FY2017. The Plan also includes a series of longer-term projects. The Chair, in consultation with the Commission, will determine the order in which the efforts will be undertaken, based on available resources and agency priorities.
The Commission authorizes the following research projects that should be considered as agency priorities and resources allow:
The Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2012-2016, approved by the Commission in December 2012, requires the Commission to develop and approve a multi-year Research and Data Plan. Implementation of each of the initiatives and projects identified in this Plan is subject to available resources, and a cost-benefit analysis, as determined by the Chair, in consultation with the Commission. In addition, the Commission may focus on research and data initiatives in addition to those identified here.
The R&D Plan for FY2016-2019 includes both short-term and long-term projects. It authorizes a series of data collection, reporting and research efforts to be undertaken beginning in FY2016 through FY2017, as resources permit. The Plan also includes a series of longer-term projects. The Chair, in consultation with the Commission, will determine the order in which the efforts will be undertaken, based on available resources and agency priorities.
The Commission authorizes a data inventory effort covering existing EEOC data.
The goal of the R&D Plan is to ensure that the EEOC uses sophisticated analytical tools to advance the agency's enforcement, outreach, operational and research activities. This effort recognizes that data collected in the various databases are used to compile and record relevant information in support of the EEOC's day-to-day activities in enforcement, litigation, outreach and research.
To strengthen the agency's use of this data in support of its mission, the agency must begin with a comprehensive inventory of its data collection processes and data usage. The Commission authorizes the Office of Research, Information and Planning (ORIP) to undertake this data inventory effort, in consultation with the Office of Information Technology (OIT), the Office of Field Programs (OFP), the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), and the Office of Federal Operations.
A comprehensive data inventory will ask and answer a number of questions, including but not limited to the following:
When completed, the data inventory will provide the EEOC with:
The tasks included in this data inventory will be:
Almost all EEOC data are captured through the EEOC's automated Integrated Mission System (IMS). This data includes administrative enforcement data from the EEOC and Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPA) with whom the EEOC has work-sharing agreements. The IMS database also includes litigation data, federal sector hearings and appeals data, and outreach data.
The EEO Surveys (EEO-1, EEO-3, EEO-4, and EEO-5) of workforce data from private-sector employers, unions, state and local governments and public elementary and secondary school systems are kept in individual databases for each survey and are stored at EEOC.
Oversight data on complaint activity in the federal sector and workforce demographics data from the federal sector are maintained in the FedSEP database.
EEOC's financial (Oracle Federal Financials) and human resources (Federal Personnel and Payroll System) data are maintained through shared services with the Department of Interior (DOI).
ORIP shall work with OIT and program offices to document the various systems and databases that EEOC maintains. This documentation will also outline any integration across database systems. This information will provide a comprehensive basis for the overall inventory assessment and will outline the priorities for the tasks noted below, in a phased approach.
ORIP shall identify the primary data tables in each database in order to document the data fields (with definition and format) and data relationships.
EEOC's databases for enforcement in the private, state and local sectors (both investigations and litigation), and enforcement in the federal sector, include transactional data elements that track the movement of charges and cases as they are processed. These databases also contain analytic data elements that capture factors related to managing people and programs, such as timeliness, productivity, etc.
ORIP shall engage in the following activities to analyze the health of EEOC's analytic data:
ORIP shall also assess the extent to which missing values are undermining the completeness of our databases. An informational item may be planned as a part of a database but if that data field is missing a large number of observations, the data's utility and reliability will be limited. If a large number of missing values affect a data field that is important for analysis, ORIP will work with the relevant EEOC office (i.e. the Office of Field Programs, the Office of General Counsel, or the Office of Federal Operations, depending on the specific database), to address the limitation. Such efforts may include joint development of effective staff communication on the importance of entering a particular data point or joint development of alternative approaches to collecting the data.
Finally, ORIP shall assess data elements in reports that users independently program via external reporting platforms, such as Hyperion, to extract data that is otherwise unavailable from existing standard reports.
ORIP shall assess EEOC data based on a number of criteria. This includes relevance to and facilitation of EEOC's enforcement programs, public education and development of outreach programs, service to EEOC's customers, and continual improvement to the organization at all levels.
ORIP shall develop an Action Plan designed to correct any disparities and data inconsistencies from three perspectives: (1) updating the "source" data (the system of record) to reflect the cleansed data; (2) developing rules, enforced through programming code, to maintain clean data in future entries; and (3) developing procedures for acquiring, converting and storing data that avoid data issues. The goal shall be maintaining and collecting valid and reliable data in a single authoritative source. This will be done in cooperation with the relevant EEOC program offices and the Office of Information Technology.
ORIP shall evaluate report formats from both database-generated and custom-designed reports.
In order to do so, ORIP shall document the following information:
Due to the volume of agency reports, this effort will be phased and will initially focus on the most commonly used reports and other priority areas identified during the data inventory efforts.
ORIP shall assess the use of EEOC reports. The goal of this particular aspect of the assessment will be to determine whether relevant and beneficial data are being collected, and whether or not the data are applied appropriately to manage programs and people.
To assess the extent to which the EEOC currently uses its data to manage programs and people, ORIP shall collect the following information:
It is understood that EEOC's databases continue to evolve as new requirements, such as those identified to support EEOC's digital services initiatives and new Executive Orders, emerge. Therefore, processes will need to be put in place to maintain and update the data inventory in order to maintain its currency and relevancy.
The Commission authorizes a review and update of the EEO Surveys to provide for the collection of additional data that will enhance its enforcement efforts, allow greater self-assessment by employers, enable the examination of workforce changes among demographic groups to inform the public and serve as a measure of Commission performance, and improve the agency's research capabilities.
The EEO Survey Collection System (EEO-1, EEO-3, EEO-4, and EEO-5) collects workforce data from private-sector employers, unions, state and local governments and public elementary and secondary school systems. This information is used for a variety of purposes, including enforcement, self-assessment by employers, and research. Each of the EEO reports is a collection of data about gender, race, and ethnicity by job grouping. Changes to EEOC surveys are subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Such proposed changes are brought to the Commission for a vote.
The tasks to be undertaken during the review and update are as follows:
The Commission will consider a proposal to expand the EEO-3 Form to collect data on referrals from employment agencies. ORIP will first conduct research to accompany the proposed rule. Deliverables will include a burden statement that also discusses benefits.
In today's workplaces, employers are increasingly relying on employment agencies to refer workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "the employment services industry, which comprises employment placement agencies, temporary help services, and professional employer organizations, is projected to add 631,300 jobs, an annual rate of increase of 2.1 percent, and reach 3.3 million by 2020, placing this industry among those with the largest projected employment growth."
Individuals who work directly for the professional employer organizations or leasing agencies (i.e., the staff of such agencies) are covered by EEO-1 reports. However, individuals who are referred out to work are not covered in the EEO-1 reports. Given the high growth in the number of employees placed by such organizations, it is important to consider whether to modify the EEO-3 reports to capture the diversity of this population.
Since President Obama launched the White House Equal Pay Task Force in January 2010, EEOC and its sister agencies, including the Department of Labor, the Department of Justice, and the Office of Personnel Management, have worked collectively to promote compliance with equal pay laws and to address pay discrimination under their enforcement mandates. As recommended by the Task Force, the EEOC commissioned an outside study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to review methods for measuring and collecting pay information by gender, race, and national origin to support the agency's pay discrimination enforcement efforts. The study panel's report, Collecting Compensation Data from Employers recommended that the EEOC conduct a pilot data collection study to test a proposed collection instrument and to plan for the use of the data as well as to assess the costs and benefits of the proposed data collection effort.
The Commission approved the hire of an independent contractor to conduct a pilot pay data collection study as recommended by the NAS panel. ORIP will study the pilot project's conclusions and make recommendations concerning methods for collecting and analyzing employer pay data.
The Commission authorizes EEOC to standardize processes related to external data reporting, including development of requirements and cost proposal for an IMS Reporting Extract.
The Commission authorizes the review and standardization of processes related to external data reporting, and the review of requirements and costs related to the establishment of an annual reporting extract of the IMS charge database. The purpose of the reporting extract is to:
In all live databases, the data may change every day as users make corrections or adjustments to previously entered information. Although this is a necessary function to keep data current and correct, it can cause problems when data released from the live database conflicts with data previously published by the EEOC.
The first phase will look at private sector enforcement external data reporting requirements. The current quarterly 396 reconciliation and reporting process and resultant 396 data reporting extract and archives will be reviewed to help determine how the current 396 reconciliation and extract process either meets or does not meet EEOC's external data reporting needs. The intent is to streamline, not duplicate, the current data reconciliation and reporting processes.
The Commission authorizes ORIP to develop a centralized repository of employer data that would maintain key data, such as employer identification, parent/subsidiary relationships, NAICs code, contractor status, and other company related data elements, for linkage and integration with IMS Respondent data.
OIT has initiated a project to research alternative sources of employer data, including: (a) employer data currently maintained and available from USASpending.gov, (b) an employer database under development at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), (c) data from commercial sources such as Dunn and Bradstreet (D&B), and (d) data that may be collected and maintained through EEOC's new Respondent Portal. This Employer Database would also be used to maintain the data elements required by the Fair Pay/Safe Workplaces Executive Order. OIT is also working with program offices to incorporate the collection of Fair Pay/Safe Workplace data into the agency's newly developed Act-Digital Respondent Portal for linkage to IMS.
Going forward, OIT and ORIP will work with the program offices to identify requirements for both data collection (sources) and data integration for the Employer Database. Recurring maintenance costs associated with maintaining the currency of the data will be forwarded to the Chair for review. The new Employer Database will provide "day-forward" mapping to new charges/respondents. Therefore, cost estimates will also be obtained to have a service (such as D&B) provide mapping of current IMS Respondent records to the Employer Data, to provide this linkage and thereby improve the quality of EEOC's existing Respondent data.
In addition to this effort, OIT and ORIP will work together to expand linkages between IMS and other EEOC Surveys (EEO-3, EEO-4, EEO-5) either directly or through this Employer Database, as appropriate. Linking IMS respondents directly to their related D&B record, along with their EEO survey record, and other company data, would be a positive step toward better standardizing, analyzing and reporting on EEOC's respondent data. It would also improve searching and standardization on items such as NAICS information, parent/subsidiary relationships, and locations.
The Commission authorizes enhancing the IMS system to facilitate the collection of charging party occupation and pay data subject to a cost/benefit analysis as determined by the Chair, in consultation with the Commission.
Collecting occupation and pay data about charging parties will allow the agency to determine the rate at which charging parties in different occupations and/or pay ranges file charges. In addition, collecting such data will allow the agency to determine the rate at which charging parties in the same occupations and/or pay ranges file charges based on their ethnicity, age, geography, etc.
The current Intake Questionnaire asks the charging party about his or her "pay rate." However, improved data code fields need to be established in IMS, specifically the addition of an occupational code. OIT will work with ORIP and program offices to outline requirements and estimate costs for these modifications, taking into account any additional data already being collected under updated systems.
The IMS database automatically inserts an industrial code (NAICS code) when a standardized respondent name is entered into IMS. However, when a non-standard name is entered, the investigator must do a manual search to ascertain the correct industry code and then enter that code in the system. The ACT Digital system may be used to collect additional Respondent identifying information.
ORIP, in consultation with OFP and OIT, shall prepare a cost/benefit analysis for the Chair regarding the collection of enhanced occupational and pay data. The analysis shall include data requirements, cost estimates and workload projections. The Commission's authorization of enhanced collection of occupational codes and pay data is contingent on the Chair's determination, in consultation with the Commission, that the benefits of enhanced collection of this data outweigh the costs.
The Commission authorizes the utilization of EEOC data to study harassment trends. In addition, the Commission authorizes support of an EEO Academic Data Center that will house valuable EEO data and serve as a resource for academic studies that will benefit the Commission and the public.
The Commission authorizes ORIP to study EEOC charge data as well as federal sector hearing and appeal statistics, along with EEO survey and Census data to determine which private sector and federal, state and local government employers and industries are most frequently subject to allegations of harassment. Such a study, subject to a cost/benefit analysis as determined by the Chair, will be undertaken after consultation and coordination with the Commission's Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace.
In January 2015, Chair Yang announced the formation of a Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, co-chaired by Commissioners Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnic. A study by ORIP of the agency's current data on harassment charges in the private sector by employer and occupation, as well as similar complaints in the federal sector by agency and grade level/positions, will assist the efforts of the Select Task Force.
The Commission authorizes ORIP to support the development and ongoing viability of an EEO Academic Data Center.
The University of Massachusetts, Amherst received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to operate an EEOC Data Network. This network coordinates relationships between EEOC and its academic partners to facilitate data access and security, and to become a hub for cumulative expertise in the use of EEOC data products. The University of Massachusetts, Amherst has recently submitted a proposal for a larger EEOC Data Center. As the hope is that the Data Center will be funded through grants, the Data Center will not be dependent on EEOC resources. However, the success and growth of the EEO Academic Data Center will depend on continued active involvement of the EEOC. ORIP and OIT will work with the Academic Data Center to review and coordinate security requirements associated with protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of EEOC's data (in aggregated form) that is maintained at this Center.
There are many significant functions currently performed by ORIP staff that the Data Center could undertake. Those functions would be part of the central mission of the Data Center and performed on a larger scale than ORIP can now perform with its limited resources. Activities currently undertaken by ORIP staff to encourage academic research may, consistent with statutory confidentiality requirements, be transferred to an outside academic center. Examples include explaining the availability of data, confidentiality restrictions, and processes necessary to obtain access to EEOC data. Additionally detailed explanations of the contents and structure of the data sets and best practices for working with the data can be provided by the data center. This will free up ORIP staff to assist with enforcement activities that are the primary mission of the EEOC.
The Commission shall consider, as resources allow, the following long-term research projects:
This research will assist the Commission in 1) focusing its enforcement efforts on selection devices and practices that serve as significant barriers to opportunity and 2) providing technical assistance to employers to highlight promising practices and ensure that selection practices focus on job related factors.
The collection of data about individuals with disabilities, which has been the practice in the federal sector for many years, would provide a number of benefits. In terms of enforcement, it would assist in charge processing by allowing enforcement staff to verify allegations made by charging parties, determining where an allegation might indicate a broader practice appropriate for investigation. The collection of this data would also assist in determining whether charge activity based on the ADA is consistent with other types of charge activity. Further, it would assist in the assessment of employer policies and the development of possible new policies. Similarly, such data collection may prove useful in measuring the Commission's impact in addressing and remedying discrimination.
The goal of this Research and Data Plan for FY2016 to FY2019 is to move the EEOC towards using more sophisticated analytical tools for enforcement, outreach, and operational performance to better serve the public and continuously improve the agency's work overall. OMB has often referenced the need for federal agencies to move towards utilizing "business intelligence" and relevant software as a means of tracking and reporting operational and performance information to support mission results. Such requirements are included in the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act, OMB Quality of Information Guidelines, Open Government initiatives regarding transparency and accountability, Customer Service assessments, and other government performance improvement efforts. By creating this multi-year strategic research and data plan, the agency aims to maximize the impact of its limited research and data collection funds and to achieve the outcomes set forth by OMB.
 The Office of Information Technology (OIT) maintains the IMS and the federal sector databases. Decisions about what data are maintained and added to or deleted/archived from the enforcement data included in the IMS database are made with input under the authorities outlined in the Privacy Act and other program responsibilities assigned to the Office of Field Programs (OFP), the Office of General Counsel (OGC), the Office of Federal Operations (OFO) and ORIP. ORIP also routinely coordinates extensive data reconciliation of EEOC's administrative enforcement data with OIT and program offices to maintain the reliability of EEOC data. OIT actions regarding what federal sector data are maintained and added to or deleted/archived in the IMS database are made with input from the Office of Federal Operations (OFO). Oversight data on complaint activity in the federal sector is collected via Form 462 Reports while workforce demographics data from the federal sector are collected via MD-715 Reports. All such data is maintained in the FedSEP database. The Office of the General Counsel controls maintenance of the litigation data.
 For these purposes the relevant criteria are : 1) valid - an accurate measure of the concept(s) it conveys; 2) relevant - clearly tied to the process being evaluated; 3) useful - representational and easily interpreted; 4) targeted - an appropriate indicator for quantitatively or qualitatively measuring EEOC activities; 5) contextual - self explanatory; and 6) timely - available through a consistent reporting cycle.
 See "Employment Outlook: 2010-2020, Industry employment and output projections to 2020," Monthly Labor Review, January 2012, page 7.
 Collecting Compensation Data from Employers. National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2013.
 Consistent with a recommendation of the NAS study, the Commission will work in conjunction with the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to prepare a comprehensive plan for use of earnings data before initiating any data collection.
 Evaluation of EEOC's Performance Measures, The Urban Institute, March 19, 2013, http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/oig/performance_measures.cfm.
 See Government Performance and Results Modernization Act, Pub. L. No. 111-352 (2010); Information Quality Act, Pub. L. No. 106-554 (2001); Government Performance and Results Act, Pub. L. No. 103-62 (1993); Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies, 67 Fed. Reg. 8,452 (February 22, 2002); Open Government Directive, OMB M-10-06 (December 8, 2009).