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EEOC settlement over company recruiting practices includes new element

The EEOC and Groupon, Inc. have entered into a voluntary agreement in which Groupon has agreed to contribute $350,000 toward establishing an educational fund dedicated to improving primary and secondary STEM education for Black students and awarding scholarships to Black students pursuing advanced degrees in STEM fields.

This agreement is unique, and experts have said that it indicates a broader effort to support diversity in the workplace in the future. It remains to be seen whether initiatives like this will be sought by the EEOC from employers in other cases, and it underscores an interesting effort an employer could implement outside of disputes like this one.

The agreement, which includes other requirements, follows an EEOC investigation of Groupon’s recruitment and hiring practices.

Under the agreement, Groupon also agreed to expand its annual equal employment opportunity (EEO) training for its management and employees and continue to regularly review its existing EEO policies, all of which will be supervised by Groupon’s chief people officer and global head of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Furthermore, Groupon will continue to partner with the EEOC to voluntarily provide annual reports on recruitment activities and hiring demographics and will meet regularly with the EEOC to discuss the company’s progress on these matters.

“Groupon has demonstrated that it is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, including through contributing to furthering STEM education and improving its hiring and recruiting practices,” said Diane Smason, Acting District Director of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office. “Other employers, particularly those experiencing rapid growth and increasingly high staffing demands, should bear in mind that promoting diversity and inclusion in recruiting and hiring efforts not only helps attract top talent, it lays the foundation for building a workforce that prioritizes equity in all aspects of employment.”

“Building and nurturing a diverse and engaged workforce is a mission-critical priority for Groupon. We also want to contribute to a future where there is equality of opportunity for all, and, in this spirit, we are excited to create the STEM educational fund,” said Emma Coleman, Groupon’s Global Head of Communications and DEI.