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What You Need to Know about EEOC and Self-Reporting in the Application Process

What is the EEOC?

EEOC stands for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This commission was formed during the height of the Civil Rights movement in 1965 and administers and enforces civil rights laws that prevent workplace discrimination based on anything from an individual’s race and gender to their sexual orientation or age. It was considered the cornerstone to ending discriminatory hiring practices in the US.

The EEOC was designed as a tool for government to ensure that companies were not engaging in discriminatory hiring practices. 

Today, many companies also use the data from the EEO forms to understand the demographic makeup of their candidates, as well as their current employees. 

Why Does the EEOC Matter?

Here are a few examples of what job postings looked like before the Civil Rights movement, and before the EEOC was formed to ensure equal job opportunities to all different backgrounds. 

Explicitly stating the gender, race, ethnicity, or age of your ideal candidate is now expressly illegal, thanks to the EEOC. The examples above include language such as “Housework – White girl for general housework”, or the role of a Programmer, above left, which states “Help Wanted Male, Age 25-35”. The patterns of who was allowed to work in what roles, industries, and locations is helpful historical context for our current struggles to open access to opportunity to candidates of all backgrounds, regardless of gender, race, age, socioeconomic background, or educational attainment.

How is discrimination determined for the EEOC? How does Atipica define it?

The EEOC recommends that you use the 4/5ths, or 80% rule, to ensure that your company is not partaking in any discriminatory practices. 

The Society for Human Resource management shares their definition of the 4/5ths rule: 

“The agencies have adopted a rule under which they will generally consider any group’s selection rate that is less than four-fifths or 80 percent of the selection rate for the group with the highest selection rate as a substantially different rate of selection. This “4/5ths” or “80 percent” guideline is not intended as a legal definition but is a practical means of keeping the attention of the enforcement agencies on serious discrepancies in rates of hiring, promotion and other selection decisions.”

The issue with this “rule” is that there is room for discriminatory hiring practices even if the company does not meet the 4/5ths rule requirement. 

To see an example of how the EEOC has taken action after finding discriminatory patterns, learn more:

Within our products, Atipica has opted to modify 4/5ths rule. This way, we show our clients’ trends in hiring differences across demographics before they arrive at the 4/5ths level of discriminatory hiring.  

Is my company legally obliged to follow these regulations?

If your company has over 15 employees, then its hiring practices must follow Equal Employment laws from:

How does the EEOC get their numbers? How does this change with Atipica?

When a company posts an open job req, many use their Applicant Tracking system to gather self reported demographic information from candidates via the EEOC form.

Candidates who do not go through the traditional application process may not be given the option to fill out the EEOC form. This may include candidates who were referred, sourced prospects, or current employees seeking internal mobility to a new role. 

Our data shows that on average only 50-60% of candidates for jobs provide EEOC information. Therefore, up to 50% of your candidates do not share any demographic identification. We also know that different groups respond to the EEOC survey at different rates, which may result in the unrepresentative and inaccurate data from the pool of respondents to your survey.

Atipica’s products and services give companies transparency into the demographic information of their candidate pool, which allows companies to be more intentional and data-informed in their diversity & inclusion efforts. Without Atipica, companies only have EEOC self reported demographic information. We use both EEOC data, and Atipica predictions from our machine learning models, to create a full visualization of who is in your candidate pipeline.

Our combination of AI and self-identification gives companies demographic information with an accuracy of 96% for gender and 91% for race. 

Interested in learning more about our work? Check out our website at, or reach out to us at [email protected]

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