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Hudson Introduces Bill to Protect Small Businesses from Frivolous Lawsuits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2014  

Hudson Introduces Bill to Protect Small Businesses from Frivolous Lawsuits

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08), a member of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce, introduced the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 4959). Recently, courts have levied large sanctions against the EEOC for bringing lawsuits that were frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless. This legislation would require the EEOC to post on its website and in its annual report an array of information to promote transparency.

Hudson said: “The EEOC is tasked with a noble mission to protect American workers and job-seekers from discrimination in the workplace and hiring practices. Recently, however, the EEOC has overstepped its bounds by levying numerous cases found to be frivolous, groundless, and baseless that has caused undue burdens on numerous businesses and industries.

“It is critical that Congress provides meaningful oversight to certify that the EEOC stays focused on carrying out its core mission. This legislation will increase transparency and accountability at the EEOC to help ensure that the agency fulfills its duty and adequately balances the interests of both employers and workers.”

Rep. John Kline (MN-02), Chairman of the Committee on Education & the Workforce, said: “I want to thank Representative Hudson for his leadership on this important issue. It’s time to shine some sunlight on an agency that has operated in the shadows for far too long. The commission exercises tremendous power over our nation’s job creators. The public deserves to know that power is being used appropriately and effectively. The commonsense proposal introduced by Rep. Hudson will help do just that.”

Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, said: “Every American deserves a fair shot at finding a job, and workers rely upon EEOC to promote fairness and hold bad actors accountable. However, because of EEOC overreach, there are now policies in place making it harder for employers to do what is right. Legislation such as H.R. 4959 will help ensure the EEOC pursues worthwhile cases in good faith to prevent actual discrimination rather than abusing its powers of litigation in search of a problem.” 

Bill Summary:

·         This legislation would require EEOC to post on its website and in its annual report an array of information to promote transparency, including: any case in which EEOC was required to pay fees or costs, or where a sanction was imposed against it by a court; the total number of charges filed by an EEOC member or as a result of a directed investigation; and each systemic discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC.

·         EEOC would be required to conduct conciliation endeavors in good faith and such endeavors would be subject to judicial review. 

·         The bill would require EEOC’s Inspector General (IG) to notify Congress within 14 days when a court has ordered sanctions against EEOC.  The IG must also conduct a thorough investigation of why the agency brought the case, and submit a report to Congress within 90 days of the court’s decision explaining why sanctions were imposed.

·         Further, EEOC must submit a report to Congress within 60 days of the court’s decision detailing steps EEOC is taking to reduce instances in which it is subject to court-ordered sanctions.  EEOC must post this report to its website within 30 days of submitting to Congress.

For more information, please click here.

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