Question: What is the best way for an employer to collect race, ethnic, and gender information for the EEO-1 report?
Answer: Self-identification is the preferred method for gathering race and ethnicity information for the EEO-1 report. As an employer, you are required to ask employees to self-identify; however, employees are not required to provide this information.
You may find it helpful to clarify why you are asking employees for race and ethnicity information by providing them with a statement explaining its purpose and reminding them it is voluntary and confidential. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides the statement below, which employers may use and adapt for their workplace:
The employer is subject to certain governmental recordkeeping and reporting requirements for the administration of civil rights laws and regulations. In order to comply with these laws, the employer invites employees to voluntarily self-identify their race or ethnicity. Submission of this information is voluntary and refusal to provide it will not subject you to any adverse treatment. The information obtained will be kept confidential and may only be used in accordance with the provisions of applicable laws, executive orders, and regulations, including those that require the information to be summarized and reported to the federal government for civil rights enforcement. When reported, data will not identify any specific individual.
The EEOC does not endorse or require a particular self-identification form, but it does provide two sample forms. Of note, the EEOC advises that employers adhere to the following before using any form:
Until the EEOC addresses another gender or “nonbinary” option, the only gender choices on the EEO-1 are male or female, even when an employee chooses not to identify as one of the two genders. If the employee declines to self-identify as male or female for purposes of EEO-1 reporting, employers may reasonably use other available employment records or observations to determine the most appropriate sex determination.
For employers who are required to submit an EEO-1, EEO-1 “Component 1” data (everything except pay data) for 2018 is due by May 31, 2019, and must be submitted on the EEOC’s EEO-1 survey web portal. “Component 2” data (pay data) for 2017 and 2018 is due September 30, 2019.