On July 27, 2021, the United States Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) begins the 2020 EEO-5 data collection via the EEO-5 Online Filing System at https://EEOCdata.org/eeo5. Pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), all public elementary and secondary school districts with one-hundred (100) or more employees (Eligible School Districts), must file and certify an Elementary-Secondary Staff Information Report (EEO-5 Report) with the EEOC every two years.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EEOC delayed the 2020 EEO-5 data collection a year.  By October 4, 2021, all Eligible School Districts must report demographic workforce data for all district employees, broken down by Full-Time employees, Part-Time employees, and Full-Time New Hires (see below for information on employee classifications).  The demographic workforce data must include the Race/Ethnicity, Sex, and Activity Assignment Classification for each district employee. 

In preparing for filing, Eligible School Districts will need to obtain/identify the following:

  • The district’s Registration ID and PIN (see below for more information);
  • The district’s name and address;
  • The type of agency which operates the district’s system and has the responsibility/authority to employ or dismiss employees (e.g., the local public school system);
  • The number of schools and annexes operated by the district;
  • The district’s student enrollment as of October 1, 2020;
  • The district’s workforce data from the pay period closest to October 1, 2020 (including those employees who resigned or were terminated since that pay period);
  • The number of Full-Time New Hires between July 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020;
  • The Sex and Race/Ethnicity of all district employees (see below for more information); and
  • The Activity Assignment Classifications of all district employees (see below for more information).

School Districts that were not eligible to file in 2020 because they did not have at least one-hundred (100) employees must certify on the EEO-5 Online Filing System that they were not Eligible School Districts.

All Eligible School Districts will be required to create a new user account in 2021 using their Registration ID and PIN.  The Registration ID and PIN link a district to an individual user’s account in the new EEO-5 Online Filing System.  Eligible School Districts that submitted 2018 EEO-5 data will receive a notification letter in mid-July 2021, which will include the required Registration ID and PIN, as well as additional instructions.  If a district that has previously filed does not receive the Registration ID and PIN by the beginning of August 2021, the district should report the matter via the ‘Contact Us’ Form located on the EEO-5 Filer Support Team page.  Districts that will be filing for the first time, will be provided the Registration ID and PIN after submitting the registration form, which will be available on July 27, 2021 at https://EEOCdata.org/eeo5

On the EEO-5 Online Filing System, filers must provide the district’s current address and point of contact(s).  If districts that have previously filed need to update the point of contact(s) for the 2020 EEO-5 data collection, the district will need to use the ‘Contact Us’ Form on the EEO-5 Filer Support Team page to submit such a request.  The request must either be submitted by an authorized official who is a current point of contact, or the district must include a letter from an authorized official identifying the new contacts on district letterhead in electronic PDF format.

As noted above, all Eligible School Districts will need to classify their employees as Full-Time employees, Part-Time employees, or Full-Time New Hires.  The definition for “employee” as well as each employee classification can be found in Appendix 1 of the EEO-5 Instruction Booklet.  An employee refers to those individuals employed by a school system or district, not inclusive of elected or certain appointed individuals (see Appendix 1 for more information pertaining to appointed individuals).  Full-Time employees are those individuals working on a full-time basis as of the pay period closest to October 1, 2020, inclusive of those individuals working multiple part-time assignments for the district that amount to full-time status, but not inclusive of temporary or substitute employees.  Part-Time employees are those individuals working less than a regular full-time work week, not inclusive of temporary or substitute employees.  Full-Time New Hires are those individuals who were hired between July 1 and September 30, 2020, either for the first time or who were hired after a break in full-time service for the district, not inclusive of those individuals who have been on sabbaticals or other leaves that are not deemed a break in service, nor those who have been promoted or who have received a change in Activity Assignment Classification.  All new hires must be included in the sections for Full-Time New Hires and Full-Time employees.

Beyond these classifications, Eligible School Districts will need to provide information pertaining to an employee’s sex, race, and ethnicity.  With respect to reporting an employee’s race and ethnicity, districts are required to first attempt to allow the employee to self-identify.  Along with the opportunity to self-identify, the district should provide a statement regarding the voluntary nature of the information.  The EEOC provides the following sample statement language that districts could distribute:

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.

Should an employee decline to self-identify, the district may utilize employment records or observer identification as a secondary means for identifying the employee’s race and ethnicity for the EEO-5 Report.  The EEOC cautions that if a district maintains such a record, it should be kept separate from the employee’s basic personnel file or records available to those involved in personnel decisions. 

Race/ethnicity identification categories include: (1) Hispanic or Latino, (2) White, (3) Black or African American, (4) Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, (5) Asian, (6) Native American or Alaska Native, and (7) Two or More Races.  For the Two or More Races category, the definition reads: “All persons who identify with more than one of the above five races (White, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Asian, Native American or Alaska Native).  For the purposes of this group, identifying as Hispanic or Latino and only one of the listed 5 race groups does NOT qualify.”  In other words, any employee who answers “YES” to “Are you Hispanic or Latino?” should only be included as Hispanic or Latino, even if they could answer “YES” to another race; similarly, any employee who answers “YES” to one of the other races, should not be included in that category if they also answered “YES” to “Are you Hispanic or Latino?”

Additional information regarding the definitions for these categories may be found in the EEO-5 Instruction Booklet under Appendix 3 – Race/Ethnicity Identification.  The Instruction Booklet also provides that these race and ethnicity designations used within the context of the EEO-5 Reports do not constitute scientific definitions of anthropological origins, nor do they control who is protected under Title VII for any employment discrimination claims premised on race or national origin.

For Eligible School Districts wishing to report employee counts for non-binary gender employees, the districts may do so in the comment box on the Certification Page.  The EEOC asks that the information be prefaced with the words “Additional Employee Data,” followed by the number of non-binary employees within each Activity Assignment, followed by each employee’s race/ethnicity.  For example, “Additional Employee Data: 2 non-binary gender employees in Activity Assignment Secondary Classroom Teachers; Race/Ethnicity: Employee 1 – White (Non-Hispanic or Latino), Employee 2 – Hispanic or Latino.”

With respect to Activity Assignment Classifications, Eligible School Districts will need to identify their employees according to the following categories: (1) Officials/Administrators/Managers, (2) Principals, (3) Assistant Principals, (4) Elementary/Secondary/Other Classroom Teachers, (5) Guidance, (6) Psychological, (7) Librarians/Audio-Visual, (8) Consultants/Supervisors of Instruction, (9) Other Professional Staff, (10) Teacher Aides, (11) Technicians, (12) Administrative Support Workers, (13) Service Workers (i.e., paraprofessionals and persons in cafeteria maintenance, transportation, etc.), (14) Skilled Crafts, (15) Laborers/Helpers, (16) Professional Instructional, and (17) Other Professional Staff.  Except for those employees reported in the Psychological Activity Assignment Classification, all employees who have two or more Activity Assignment classifications combining for full-time status (e.g., Teacher Aide-Service Worker) should be reported in the Activity Assignment in which the employee spends the greatest percentage of their time, or, if the employee splits their time equally, the employee should be reported in the most critical classification.  Due to the extensive additional instruction on each Activity Assignment Classification, districts are advised to consult the EEO-5 Instruction Booklet, Appendix 2 – Assignment Classification, in order to ensure proper reporting procedures regarding these Activity Assignment Classifications.

After Eligible School Districts compile and enter all relevant data in the EEO-5 Report, they must finally enter the name and contact information of the district’s Certifying Official.  The Certifying Official must check a box certifying that the information provided in the EEO-5 Report is true and correct to the best of their knowledge and was prepared according to the EEO-5 Report instructions.  The information provided in the EEO-5 Report is subject to the confidentiality provisions of Section 709(e) of Title VII; as a result, the EEOC will only publish aggregate data from the EEO-5 Reports and will not identify individual filers or any employee’s personal information.

If an Eligible School District believes that the preparation or filing of the EEO-5 Report would create an undue hardship on the district, the district may apply to the EEOC for an exemption by submitting a request in writing to EEO5FilerSupport@EEOCdata.org.  Such requests, which are made pursuant to 29 C.F.R. § 1602.44, must be submitted to the EEOC before the October 4, 2021, filing deadline. 

For questions regarding this article, please contact the author,

or your Renning, Lewis & Lacy attorney.

Laura E. Pedersen

Laura E. Pedersen

lpedersen@law-rll.com | (844) 626-0909

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