Come this September, employers are facing a new EEO-1 form and a new filing format.  Therefore, employers are well advised to get a head start on this annual reporting task.    The new rules relating to EEO-1s are really two-fold:  EEO-1s must now be filed on-line; and some of the job, ethnicity, and race categories have been modified.

The EEOC requires annual filing of EEO-1 forms by all employers with 100 or more employees, or employers with 50 or more employees if the employer has government contracts of $50,000 or more.    The EEO-1 form provides a count of employees by job category and then by ethnicity, race, and gender.   The EEO-1 is submitted to the EEOC and the Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance.

In past years, the EEOC allowed filing the EEO-1 on-line, but did not require on-line filing.  The EEOC accepted paper EEO-1 forms.   Beginning with EEO-1s due by September 30, 2007,  the EEOC will require essentially all EEO-1s to be filed on-line.  Paper EEO-1 forms will be allowed only in extreme cases where internet access is not available to the employer.

The modifications of various categories in the form will require the employer to rethink how employees are classified.   As to race/ethnicity categories, the EEOC highly recommends that employees be encouraged to self identify, which should  make it easier for employers to provide race/ethnicity information on the EEO-1.    However, employers should revisit their own forms to see whether they should be revised to provide categories consistent with the new EEO-1 categories.   The new EEO-1 adds a new category for “two or more races.” It divides “Asian or Pacific Islander” into two separate categories: “Asian” and “Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.” The new EEO-1 renames “Black” as “Black or African American” and renames “Hispanic” as “Hispanic or Latino.”

The changes to the job categories will likely cause employers more headaches than the changes to the race/ethnicity categories.   The old job category of “Officials and Managers” is now divided into two levels based on responsibility and influence within the organization: Executive/Senior Level Officials and Managers; and First/Mid-Level Officials and Managers.  In addition, business and financial occupations have been moved from the Officials and Managers category to the Professionals category.

The EEOC made these changes to the EEO-1 form for the purpose of improving the accuracy and specificity of data for being able to better track trends in mobility of women and minorities in the workplace.    In preparing for filing this year, employers should allow themselves extra time, to deal with questions and issues that arise because of the new rules.