Washington, D.C.–Using the Congressional Review Act, the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday voted to overturn a Trump Administration rule that imposed rigid new procedures on the EEOC’s duty to seek to settle meritorious claims of employment discrimination through the process known as conciliation.
The U.S. Senate approved the measure on May 19. The bill will be sent to President Joe Biden to sign into law in the coming days.
“Conciliation is a critical tool to help protect the civil rights of America’s workers,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows. “The action by Congress restores the Commission’s flexibility to tailor the conciliation process to the facts and circumstances of each case, thus increasing the likelihood of a successful resolution. EEOC is committed to resolving cases in conciliation whenever possible as one of the most effective means to remedy and prevent discrimination in the workplace.”
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires EEOC to try to conciliate (i.e., settle) charges of discrimination that the agency believes have merit before considering litigation. The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Mach Mining, LLC v. EEOC clarified in 2015 what EEOC needs to do to satisfy the conciliation requirement, and EEOC has consistently followed those standards. Following Congress’s decision to overturn the rigid conciliation rule, EEOC’s conciliation process will again be governed by the standards set forth by the Supreme Court in Mach Mining.
EEOC obtains relief through conciliation for thousands of working people each year. The agency has continued its efforts to conciliate a greater percentage of cases – with successful conciliations rising from 27% in fiscal year (FY) 2010 to nearly 44% in FY 2020. In FY 2020 alone, and prior to the adoption of the newly rescinded rule, the EEOC recovered $38.8 million for victims of discrimination through conciliation.