EEOC Launches Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has established the Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA) to “provide [their] customers timely, accurate, and bias-free data and information to prevent and remedy unlawful employment discrimination, and improve organizational performance.” EEOC Director and Chief Data Officer Samuel C. “Chris” Haffer leads the OEDA.
This is an exciting and forward-looking development. Jackson Lewis’ Data Analytics Group was invited to EEOC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. to attend a listening session about the new Office.
Employers have access to a wealth of data that, when paired with powerful analytical tools, can help them more effectively manage the workplace. In order to remain competitive, reduce workplace management costs, and mitigate workplace-related legal risk, among other things, it is critical for employers to leverage their own data in combination with external sources.
The launch of the OEDA should prompt employers to reconsider waiting to leverage data and analytics in managing their workplace. Using data and analytics in the workplace is not a passing fad.
With a vision to “build a 21st century data and analytics organization,” the EEOC said OEDA’s principal goal is to “use state of the art data and information science tools and techniques to collect, utilize and share data and information, efficiently leveraging data to reduce burden and costs while protecting individual and employer privacy, and promoting program transparency.” This initiative builds on EEOC’s October 2016 public meeting, “Big Data in the Workplace: Examining Implications for Equal Employment Opportunity Law,” by initiating a new and transformative force at the EEOC designed in part on serving valuable data and data products to the public.
OEDA is comprised of four divisions:
Business Operations and Organizational Performance Division – This Division will oversee business operations and, among other tasks, enhance the Office’s transparency and effectiveness. The Division will consist of a Business Operations Team and an Organizational Performance Team.
Data Development and Information Products Division – This Division’s tasks will include “develop[ing] information products” and being involved with data collection and survey methodology. It also will support EEOC charge-handling by linking EEOC charges with EEO-1 reports and providing analyses of EEOC charge data. The Division will consist of an Employer Data Team and an Information Products Team.
Information and Data Access Division – This Division is tasked with overseeing data governance and policy. It will provide research and information services in support of enforcement litigation efforts. The Division will consist of a Library and Information Services Team and a Data Policy and Access Team.
Data Analytics Division – This Division will provide systemic investigations analytical support and analytics on various data “to identify geographic, industry and other drivers of discrimination charges and emerging trends.” The Division will consist of an Investigative Analytics Team and an Enterprise Analytics Team.
The Office will take steps to assist employers by making valuable data and data-related products available to them. It also will equip agency investigators and enforcement officials with new data and analytical resources.
While access to new collections of data and data products from the EEOC will be of great value, employers should take note that these, and additional, resources also will be at the disposal of and potentially bolster enforcement efforts. Therefore, it is critical for employers to embrace the use of data to help analyze and manage the workplace and to better identify positive and negative trends.