New Pact Between Federal Agencies

Posted by chapteradmin on Nov. 4, 2020  /  Legal Updates  /   0

By:  Claudia D. Orr, Plunkett Cooney

A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was just signed between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Labor (DOL). It requires, among other things, that the EEOC “consult” with the DOJ and DOL before it gets involved in enforcement (litigation) that involves novel or significant legal theories. 

Recall that, in June, the US Supreme Court sided with the EEOC in Bostock v Clayton County finding that Title VII protects against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The DOJ took the opposite position. On key issues such as this, the EEOC will need to consult with the DOJ before engaging in litigation.

Proponents say it will prevent duplicative efforts and be more efficient. Critics say it’s a way of granting the DOJ (which the White House immediately influences by its appointment of the Attorney General) control over the EEOC (which has autonomy from the White House longer due to the appointment of  commissioners as terms expire).

Yep, you guessed it.  The five EEOC Commissioners voted along party lines. It should be interesting to see how the MOU plays out in the future.

This article was written by Claudia D. Orr, who is Secretary of the Board of Detroit SHRM, a member of the Legal Affairs Committee, and an experienced labor/employment attorney at the Detroit office of Plunkett Cooney (a full service law firm and resource partner of Detroit SHRM) and an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association. She can be reached at [email protected] or at (313)983-4863. For further information go to:   

Detroit SHRM encourages members to share these articles with others, inside and outside their organization, if its name and logo, and the author’s information, is included in the re-post of the article. November 2020. 

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