The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced its intention to increase its focus on eradicating discrimination against women in the workplace through a variety of existing and potentially new mechanisms. In early June, EEOC Vice Chairwoman Jenny Yang identified an agency-wide focus on sex discrimination and pay issues for women, stating that although advances have been made in how women are treated in the workplace, some biases (whether conscious or unconscious) remain.
Yang, speaking at a labor law conference in early June, explained that sex-based discrimination is not always as explicit as it may have been in the past and that more subtle forms of bias might demand different approaches to thinking about and dealing with possible discrimination. She stated that society continues to witness notions about women’s places at home and in society that underscore some of the decisions that are seen in the workplace. As an example, Yang noted that sometimes a very common practice such as negotiating a salary that matches prior job experience can cause disparities that may not be job-related. Yang further emphasized that the EEOC will continue to root out unfair treatment in the workplace and press employers to consider flexible schedules and telecommuting to accommodate parents.