CHICAGO (January 12, 2021) -- Seyfarth has released its annual report on EEOC legal enforcement and court rulings, entitled EEOC-Initiated Litigation: FY 2020, the most definitive source of analysis that focuses exclusively on EEOC-related litigation. Authored by Seyfarth lawyers Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., Christopher J. DeGroff, and Matthew J. Gagnon, this year's report provides detailed analysis of the major case filings, policy directives, and all federal court rulings involving the EEOC in 2020.

By any measure, 2020 was a difficult year. The EEOC's 2020 Fiscal Year saw the agency attempting to deal with the fallout from COVID-19, including providing guidance to employers trying to navigate the radically changed employment landscape. 2020 also gave rise to some of the changes that had long been expected at the EEOC as a result of the 2016 election. President Trump's administration replaced the Chair of the Commission with a Republican, Janet Dhillon, and replaced or filled enough other seats on the Commission to give it the first Republican majority in many years. Those changes were seen by many as long overdue, given that the EEOC was forced to work part of the year in 2019 without a quorum, which stymied the Commission's ability to implement policy changes and other changes at the agency. With a Republican majority is in place, FY 2020 has seen some of the most significant changes to the EEOC's enforcement program in years. Although it is too early to say how those changes will impact the agency's mission, many employers remain cautiously optimistic. This year's report has been arranged into two main parts:

  • Part I of this book is arranged to coincide with the EEOC's six enforcement priorities as outlined in its Strategic Enforcement Plan. Each subsection highlights the most important judicial decisions and other litigation activity impacting EEOC-initiated litigation, as well as the agency rule-making and other legislative efforts and initiatives that were of particular importance to the EEOC's pursuit of these priorities and objectives in FY 2020. This analysis reveals the areas and issues where employers should direct their attention while considering employment-related business decisions. Some key highlights include the following:
  1. Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring - Most of the EEOC's recent enforcement activity has focused on combatting hiring practices that could result in age discrimination.
  2. Protecting vulnerable workers - In 2020, the Commission requested public comment regarding updates to its religious discrimination guidance.
  3. Addressing emerging issues - The COVID-19 pandemic quickly became the most important topic in ADA litigation for the EEOC.
  4. Ensuring equal pay protections - Most of the litigation involving equal pay issues has revolved around sex-based discrimination.
  5. Preserving access to the legal system - Under new leadership, the EEOC appears to be focusing on pre-litigation activities as a significant driver of its efforts to preserve access to the legal system.
  6. Preventing systemic harassment - EEOC enforcement efforts in the wake of the #MeToo movement have collided with new agency priorities.
  • Part II is a compilation of every significant case that was decided in 2020 impacting EEOC-initiated litigation. In that section, critical procedural and evidentiary matters are outlined in detail to provide a comprehensive look at how companies might approach these issues when facing EEOC litigation, serving as a resource of recent case authority for these and other issues.
    • Cases where EEOC subpoena enforcement actions were upheld
    • Motions to dismiss, procedural, and jurisdictional attacks
    • Discovery in EEOC cases
    • Dispositive motions in EEOC pattern or practice and single plaintiff cases
    • Judgments and remedies in EEOC litigation

Seyfarth's EEOC-Initiated Litigation report contains detailed legislative and regulatory updates, case studies, and a variety of charts, graphs, and maps tracking key EEOC case categories and historical data. You can learn more about the report at Seyfarth's Workplace Class Action Blog and the complete edition is once again available for order as an eBook here.

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Martin Grego, Senior Public Relations Manager, (312) 460-6659,