The White House announced Tuesday it will end another Obama-era policy--this time, canceling a plan that would require businesses to collect data on how they pay employees of different races, genders, and ethnic groups.
The Trump administration said the data-collection proposal from 2016 would be a burden to businesses and the information wouldn't provide meaningful insight into pay discrimination. The rule would have required companies to report the data for the first time next spring. Advocates for the policy defended it, adding that efforts to measure pay discrimination have been difficult in the past because information often comes from anecdotes.
"We'd learn about a pay-discrimination problem because someone saw a piece of paper left on a copy machine or someone was complaining about their salary to co-workers," Jenny Yang, who was chairwoman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) when the rules were drafted, said at NYU School of Law's Annual Conference on Labor in June. "Having pay data in summary form will also help us identify patterns that may warrant further investigation."
The original proposal instructed the EEOC to begin collecting pay data from private employers with 100 or more workers and federal contractors with 50 or more staffers. The policy broadened the range of information businesses were required to report on a form called the EEO-1, which has been used for decades to collect data on gender and race in the American workforce.
This comes as national conversations about pay discrimination have dominated headlines and plagued massive companies. In July, a judge ordered Google to give employee records to federal investigators examining the alleged "systematic" gender pay gap at the internet giant.