There is an old saying in Washington, D.C., that personnel is policy. It is common sense: whoever is in charge of a federal agency or subagency will impart his or her own particular policy preferences on the agency’s priorities, resource allocation, and regulatory agenda. In the current hyper-partisan political environment, where the U.S. Congress has ceded much of the federal policymaking apparatus to the federal agencies, this old saying is even more appropriate. The situation is more complicated, however, when talking about agencies that are helmed by bipartisan boards or commissions. One such agency is the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), where a continuing Republican majority plays a significant role in policy developments and prevents Democratic members from completely gaining control of the agency.
As 2021 begins to unfold, we thought employers might benefit from a glimpse into the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—where it has been and where it is going. We will begin this multi-part blog series with a snapshot of the EEOC’s own fiscal year (FY) 2020 Enforcement and Litigation Statistics, which the agency released on February 26, 2021. Our analysis of the Enforcement and Litigation Data provides a granular view into the agency’s enforcement efforts during the past year and offers some insights into what employers can expect going forward in 2021.