June 25, 2021
Paving the way for approval by the President, the House voted this week to rescind an EEOC rule that would have reduced unnecessary litigation by prioritizing the use of alternative dispute resolution procedures to resolve employment discrimination claims.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) filed joint resolutions (S.J. Res 13) to strike the rule under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to rescind last-minute regulations by simple majority vote. In May, the Senate voted 50-48 to rescind the conciliation rule, which was followed by this week's House vote of 219 to 210.
HR Policy filed comments in support of the rule when it was initially proposed, and joined several other business groups in a letter to Congress urging members to vote against rescinding the rule. The rule, which was finalized in January, renewed the EEOC’s commitment to engaging in conciliation and mediation processes before proceeding to litigation against a party alleged to have engaged in a discriminatory practice, and set procedural guidelines for such processes.
Outlook: President Biden is expected to sign the legislation into law, rescinding the conciliation rule. The recission reflects Democrats’ and the Biden administration’s commitment to undoing labor and employment regulatory initiatives undertaken by the Trump administration. While the conciliation rule might have provided both employers and employees with a faster, more transparent avenue towards resolution of discrimination claims, a Democratic majority EEOC will likely make increased enforcement through litigation of such claims a priority.