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Washington Labor & Employment Wire » EEOC Issues Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda

EEOC Issues Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda

 On May 11, 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its regulatory agenda for the next six months.EEOC plans to issue by the end of May 2009 its final regulations under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), the statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information and imposes restrictions on acquisition and disclosure of such information. GINA requires EEOC to issue a final rule by May 21, 2009. The comment period on EEOC’s proposed regulations under GINA closed on May 1, 2009.

EEOC also projects that it will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking in August 2009 to amend certain of its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations in light of the ADA Amendments Act. Passed in September 2008, with an effective date of January 1, 2009, the ADA Amendments Act generally lowers the threshold requirements for demonstrating that someone is disabled under the ADA. On December 11, 2008, voting 2-2 along party lines, the Commission failed to pass draft proposed regulations ahead of the Act’s effective date.  

EEOC also announced that, rather than finalize its March 31, 2008 proposed rule regarding the burden of proof in disparate impact cases under the ADEA-a position that meshed with the later ruling of the Supreme Court in Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories, 128 S. Ct. 2395 (2008)-it would instead issue a new proposed rule in August 2009, with a final rule expected by March 2010. EEOC had asked in its March 2008 proposed rule for comments on whether the regulations should provide more information on the meaning of “reasonable factors other than age” (RFOA). In light of the comments it received, and in light of the Meacham and earlier Smith v. City of Jackson decisions of the Supreme Court, EEOC has determined it is appropriate to issue a proposed rule “to address the scope of the RFOA defense.”

Finally, EEOC anticipates issuing proposed regulations this month making employee self-identification the preferred method for collecting race and ethnic data to conform with current reporting instructions for the EEO-1 Report. EEOC also plans to issue a proposed rule regarding the federal sector equal employment opportunity complaint process in June 2009.