EEOC-Initiated Litigation - 2023 Edition

©2023 Seyfarth Shaw LLP EEOC-INITIATED LITIGATION: 2023 EDITION | i Dear Clients and Friends, We are once again pleased to provide you with the latest edition of our annual analysis of trends and developments in EEOC litigation, EEOC-Initiated Litigation: 2023 Edition. This desk reference compiles, analyzes, and categorizes the major case filings and decisions involving the EEOC in 2022 and recaps the major policy and political changes we observed in the past year. Our goal is to guide clients through decisional law relative to EEOC-initiated litigation, and to empower corporate counsel, human resources professionals, and operations teams to make sound and informed litigation decisions. We hope that you find this report to be useful. By any measure, 2022 was another year of great change at the Commission. Even two years into a new presidential administration, the Commission remained a bipartisan mix of individuals with differing goals and ideologies. This mix has, at times, strengthened the Commission’s resolve, but often created political schisms that could leave employers guessing as to how to prioritize the agency’s messages. This political dynamic has played out amidst tumultuous times for employers. Issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic that emerged years ago are just now maturing to litigation. Upheavals in the global economy are translating to real-world employment issues from coast to coast. The EEOC’s mission to identify and address equal employment opportunity issues is being put to the test in profound and often unique ways. This publication is meant to equip employers with information so they can protect themselves and their employees in this ever-changing regulatory and litigation environment. Part I explores current trends in EEOC litigation, including a discussion of the political dynamics within the agency. Showcasing some new and innovative sections of this year’s publication: Part 1. C includes a unique and in-depth examination of the often confounding area of conciliation, and is a particularly interesting read for those engaging in that process. Part I analyzes current trends in EEOC enforcement, from administrative charge investigation and processing through federal court litigation. This includes detailed District by District profiles and analysis of the EEOC’s structure, demonstrating how an employer can expect the EEOC to operate often depends on the District it encounters. Part II of the book is an in-depth review of the EEOC’s evolving strategic priorities. This includes a fascinating review of the developing conflict between religious and LGBTQ+ rights, and describes the new and emerging area of the intersection between Artificial Intelligence issues and the EEOC’s agenda, among a host of other topics. Our hope is that this book provides companies and business leaders with the tools and information they need to implement well-informed personnel decisions and strategies to comply with workplace laws and craft optimal defense strategies against EEOC litigation in this rapidly evolving regulatory environment. A special thanks to the team of lawyers and professionals who made this publication possible with tireless efforts throughout the year. This book is meant to be the start of a conversation, and we are standing by to address any further questions or issues our readers wish to share. Matthew J. Gagnon Chicago Partner Sarah K. Bauman Chicago Associate Andrew L. Scroggins Chicago Partner James P. Nasiri Chicago Associate Christopher J. DeGroff Chicago Partner and practice group co-chair