The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission unveiled proposed changes Friday that would require large employers to report compensation information as part of their annual EEO-1 filings, a mandate that attorneys say could burden employers and potentially expose them to increased risk of government enforcement actions.

In a proposed rule divulged Friday, the EEOC said it plans to require federal contractors and other employers with more than 100 workers to add data on pay ranges and hours worked, to the information collected from the employer information reports — or EEO-1s — beginning in 2017. The annual reports already include information on employees’ race, ethnicity and gender in various job categories.

Ballard Spahr LLP partner Shannon Farmer believed that one of the biggest concerns for employers is that the EEOC will have better information to bring enforcement actions for discrimination, and that a major question remains as to whether the agency should even have that information without having to conduct an investigation.

Farmer also said the government would be getting the pay data without context, noting that many factors may be at play in determining an employee’s salary besides just the number of hours they work, like seniority or level of education.

“There could be very different reasons [for pay differential] not captured by just comparing two sets of numbers,” Farmer said. “A challenge [for employers] will be the EEOC getting the data without context.”

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