Press Release

NWLC and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law File FOIA Request to Uncover OMB’s Secretive Decision-making Process that Halted Equal Pay Data Collection

(Washington, D.C.)  Today, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking information about the procedures used by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) when it decided in August to halt the EEO-1 equal pay data collection. OMB officials failed to respond to several written requests by the National Women’s Law Center to meet, on behalf of equal pay stakeholders, in advance of the decision to halt the rule. Moreover, OMB’s announcement about the decision did not include the data or analysis on which it relied.

The equal pay data collection—an initiative requiring large companies to confidentially report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) information about what they pay their employees by job category, sex, race, and ethnicity—had been approved last year after a thorough and transparent process by the EEOC with multiple avenues for stakeholders, including businesses, to submit public comment. In contrast, OMB’s decision transpired in secret after corporate groups, including the Equal Employment Advisory Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, requested review and rescission of the previously approved pay data collection. OMB’s decision to review and halt the previously approved equal pay data collection offered no opportunity for public notice and comment.

The following is a statement by Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC):

“Let’s shine a spotlight on the secretive process that the Trump Administration used to stop the collection of pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity from employers. The administration simply asserted that the pay collection was too burdensome to corporations to proceed—without offering an iota of evidence or transparency. It’s time to uncover who OMB officials talked to and what information they relied on to take such a giant step backward on equal pay. We know they refused to talk to the National Women’s Law Center. Now we need to know who they listened to when they decided to sweep pay discrimination under the rug.”

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said:

“The administration’s move to suspend the collection of pay data from employers threatens to turn the clock back on efforts to identify and eliminate pay discrimination through increased transparency and reporting. Those most affected by pay discrimination, including African American men and women, deserve to know why the administration chose to side with corporations, without any input from the public. With the Freedom of Information Act request submitted today, we are seeking the answers the Trump administration should have already provided to the public.”

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For immediate release:  September 14, 2017
Contact:  Maria Patrick (mpatrick@nwlc.org)

The National Women’s Law Center is a non-profit organization that has been working since 1972 to advance and protect women’s equality and opportunity.  The Center focuses on major policy areas of importance to women and their families including economic security, education, employment and health, with special attention given to the concerns of low-income women.  For more information on the Center, visit: www.nwlc.org.