New Data Shows Dip in Discrimination Charges Filed with EEOC


Discrimination claims in FY 2013 fell by almost 6% from the previous fiscal year, according to new data released as a supplement to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) for Fiscal Year 2013. The new data — including the number of private sector charges received, federal lawsuits filed and monetary awards recovered — includes detailed charge breakdowns by claim type and state.

Despite this dip, it is important to note a steady increase in charge activity since 2006 — despite a slight dip in fiscal years 2009 and 2013. Further, although there were nearly 6,000 fewer charges filed in FY 2013 than in the prior three fiscal years, FY 2013 still places among the top five fiscal years in terms of highest number of charges received.

Highlights of the specific types of activity include —

  • Retaliation charges filed for all statutes increased this year, including a slight increase in charges of Title VII-related retaliation;
  • Other charges filed in FY 2013 included —
    • Race discrimination (35%);
    • Discrimination based on sex (29.5%);
    • Age discrimination (28.8%);
    • Disability-based claims (27.7%);
    • National-origin discrimination (11.4%);
    • Religious discrimination (4%);
    • Discrimination based on color (3.4%);
    • Pay discrimination (1.1%); and
    • Discrimination based on genetic information (.4%).
  • Changes from previous fiscal year included —
    • Claims of discrimination based on genetic information, disability, retaliation, color, religion, and national origin all increased slightly;
    • Claims of discrimination based on age and sex decreased slightly; and
    • Equal-pay claims remained the same.
  • States with the most charges filed were Texas (9,068 charges, or 9.7%), Florida (7,597, 8.1%) and California (6,892, or 7.4%).
  • The fewest charges were filed in Montana (18), Vermont (31), and Maine (34).

Although, only seven jury awards and judgments from these charges exceeded $1 million, overall the EEOC recovered $39 million with the resolution of 209 merits lawsuits during FY 2013, including 135 Title VII claims, 59 ACA claims, 16 ADEA claims and four EPA claims. Last year also saw three claims based on genetic information, marking the first time such charges have been pursued since the EEOC issued its final regulations on GINA in 2010.

The Commission uses many of these numbers to determine how well it is implementing its Strategic Enforcement Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016. In 2006, as part of this plan, the EEOC announced combating systemic discrimination as one of its top priorities. Accordingly, in FY 2013, cases involving systemic, pattern or practice and "class" types of claims made up 54 out of 231(23.4%) of the cases on the agency's litigation docket. This number exceeded the agency's annual target of increasing the percentage of systemic cases to 19-21% of its docket.

It is important to consider this data and the related trends when evaluating the effectiveness of corporate practices or policies on these issues. While most EEOC litigation involves "single victim" cases, the focus on systemic cases — such as the agency's aggressive investigations into employer background check policies — can expand an employer's potential liability. Initiatives related to recruiting and hiring procedures and practices are likely to continue, together with continued and increasing attention on refining ADA guidance, equal pay laws, LGBT protection under Title VII, enhancing protections for pregnant workers and genetic bias discrimination.

Employers can minimize their risks by creating and implementing policies addressing these issues and ensuring employees understand the relevant laws and their importance. WeComply has a variety of tools for training employees, including online courses on Preventing Discrimination and Harassment and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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