The EEOC has posted its Strategic Enforcement Plan for fiscal years 2017–2021. Included in the substantive priorities are:

  1. Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring.
  2. Protecting vulnerable workers, including immigrant and migrant workers as well as underserved communities from discrimination.
  3. Addressing selected emerging and developing issues.
  4. Ensuring equal pay protections for all workers.
  5. Preserving access to the legal system.
  6. Preventing systemic harassment.

More on all six of these initiatives can be found in the EEOC’s executive summary[1]. Within the preserving access to the legal system initiative, the EEOC notes it will focus on: “1) overly broad waivers, releases, and mandatory arbitration provisions (e.g., waivers or releases that limit substantive rights, deter or prohibit filing charges with EEOC, or deter or prohibit providing information to assist in the investigation or prosecution of discrimination claims); 2) employers’ failure to maintain and retain applicant and employee data and records required by EEOC regulations; and 3) significant retaliatory practices that effectively dissuade others in the workplace from exercising their rights.” HR managers and executives should keep these initiatives in mind as they begin to prioritize tasks for the coming year. 


Editor’s note: This piece was originally published on at



Tawny Alvarez, a labor and employment attorney at Verrill Dana, centers her practice on the understanding that the employment landscape is ever-changing, and she stays abreast of developments to craft cost-effective solutions for adapting. Tawny is the editor of Verrill Dana’s labor and employment blog, Taking Care of HR Business, which can be found at