How to file an EEO-1 report: best practices for inclusive data collection

September 26, 2023

Note: The 2022 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection is set to open October 31, 2023 and run through December 5, 2023. 

As your company grows, so do the operational complexities. For employers with 100 or more employees, or federal contractors with 50 or more employees, filing an EEO-1 report is required and can be a headache for HR operators.

In this article, we’ll help you understand the basics of an EEO-1 report: how to fill them out correctly and how to ensure your approach to data collection is inclusive. 

What is the EEO-1?

The EEO-1 report is mandated by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1967, as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972. It requires that employers report on the racial and gender composition of their workforce by specific job categories, referred to as component 1 data. 

EEO-1 reports are filed annually, usually by March 31, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The goal of collecting EEO-1 data is for the EEOC to prepare a report on fair treatment for workers, regardless of their origin, how they identify, and any physical or mental disabilities.

Who needs to file an EEO-1?

Employers or federal contractors are required to file EEO-1 reports if they meet the following criteria:

  • You’re an employer with 100 or more employees
  • You’re a federal contractor with 50 or more employees
  • You’re a federal contractor with a federal contract/subcontract/purchase order value exceeding $50,000
  • You have first-tier subcontractor or prime contractor status
  • You employ more than 50 workers and serve either as a US Savings Bonds paying agent or as a depository of government funds

Why is an EEO-1 report important to fair employment practices?

The EEOC expects businesses to recruit and operate fairly. By requiring businesses to self-assess and report employment demographics of their workforce by job category, the EEOC is able to identify harmful and exclusionary workplace practices.

The report that the EEOC generates as a result of EEO-1 filings helps employers create a more diverse workforce that benefits both them and their employees.

A checklist for filing your EEO-1 report

  1. If applicable, register as a first-time filer

Go to the EEOC’s website and complete this form to register for your first submission. Make sure to do this before the filing period begins, so you have plenty of time to run data collection and complete the Standard Form 100.

  1. Run a survey to collect data for your EEO-1 report (Mathison can do this for you)

To submit your EEO-1 report, you’ll need to run a survey for your employees (full-time, part-time, apprentice, and trainees) to self-identify their gender, ethnicity, nationality, and race. We’ll cover running an inclusive data collection survey below.

If an employee chooses not to disclose, you have the right to complete the information for them. We strongly encourage using internal documents like W-2 forms or workforce data in your human resource information systems (HRIS) to supplement your survey data, and NOT trying to visually identify or guess.

Reporting salary data (formerly EEO-1, Component 2) is NOT required this year, but experts predict it will be required in 2024.

  1. Submit your EEO-1 report

You’ll be able to submit your report starting on October 31st through the EEOC website. Check to make sure you’ve assigned each employee to the correct race/ethnicity, gender, and job type. Note: due to how data is collected by the US Census, you can only assign employees to one category (while this is not an inclusive approach, it is unfortunately the requirement for now).

There are two pages in the EEO-1 report. Page one covers Sections A-C:

  • Section A: are you with a single establishment or multiple physical offices? Each physical location requires a separate report.
  • Section B: submit your standard company data and whether it’s your employer’s first time filing an EEO-1 report. Standard company data includes the name, address, and Employer Identification Number (EIN).
  • Section C: this includes three conditional “yes” or “no” boxes. You’ll need to fill out the remaining sections of the document if you select “yes” for any of the questions.

Page two covers Sections D-G:

  • Section D: your demographic information including your total number of employees, job categories, and employee declarations for each race/ethnicity
  • Section E: your company’s industry/line of business.
  • Section F: contextual information that the report labels “remarks.” You can provide context about any significant changes if you filed the year before.
  • Section G: signatory section

Don’t skip these two steps:

  1. If you’re submitting the report online through the EEOC, select the “verify report” button otherwise your report won’t be filed.
  2. Keep up with changes in EEO-1 reporting requirements! If you’re reported in prior years, keep in mind that the EEOC files changes and you’ll need to make sure this year’s is accurate.

What happens if you don’t file or your filing is incomplete?

If your report is incomplete or inaccurate, you could be fined, lose your federal contracts, or be banned from entering into future federal contract agreements.

Best practices for inclusive data collection

Collecting demographic data can be a daunting task. Identities are deeply personal, and some employees distrust how their employer will use the information.

To set yourself up for a clean, easy EEO-1 reporting season, there are best practices we recommend to help you improve both the inclusiveness of your survey, and the likelihood that your employees will respond.

Use a third-party data collection survey

One of the biggest challenges with collecting demographic data is employee mistrust. In our experience, survey responses go up when you use a third-party service to collect the information.

Use clear language and be transparent about how data will be used

A word: over-communicate. At the beginning of your survey and in the Self-ID campaign messaging, make a case for why employees should trust you with their information. Give approachable examples of how the data will be used. Make it clear that self-identifying is voluntary and ask for consent to use of their personal data:

“As an employer with over 100 employees, we are legally required to collect and report employee demographic data to the EEOC. This data is also crucial to helping us identify opportunities to craft a workplace where everyone can thrive such as improving our employee benefits and ensuring that promotions are rewarded fairly.”

Make the demographic questions multi-select

While the EEOC only allows you to mark employees as belonging to one identity, it’s essential for inclusive data collection that you allow employees to select all options that apply to them.

Any employees who select more than one race/ethnicity would be combined into the “Two of More Races” category for the EEO-1 report. 

Ensure the identifying terms you use are inclusive

The EEOC uses race/ethnicity categories that haven’t evolved with inclusive data collection practices. Do an audit of the race/ethnicity terms being used and make sure you’re using the most inclusive versions.

Our partners at Peoplism, a leading DEI consulting firm, recommend the following for inclusive race/ethnicity categories:

  • American Indian, Alaska Native or Indigenous
  • "East Asian"
  • "South Asian"
  • "Southeast Asian"
  • Black or African American
  • Hispanic or "Latino, Latina or Latine"
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • White
  • "Prefer to self-describe ________"

Note that reporting on whether your employees identify as non-binary is not required in the EEO-1 report this year, however, we still recommend including non-binary in your multi-select option for gender. You can report non-binary employee data in the comments section of your report, but remember to remove these employees from the race, ethnicity, and age counts so that your report is accurate. 

Remove any option that lets employees choose not to answer

Peoplism recommends using an option that says “Prefer to self-describe” instead of “I do not wish to answer” in addition to making the question optional to reduce the amount of missing data.

Store demographic data separately from your employee records

Make sure that any demographic data you collect is stored separately from your employee records. You can choose to do this with physical copies or by using a reliable cloud-based service, although your HRIS is usually the most efficient choice.

Whether it’s your first time filing, or you’re looking for a little extra support this year, we can help you collect and format the data you need for a smooth EEO-1 report. Above all, remember: you got this!

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