Monday, August 24, 2020: EEOC State of the Union, Including to “Remember the Ladies”
Victoria Lipnic, Former Acting Chair and a current Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), addressed listeners of the National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) in its summer webinar series. Covering everything from current Commissioner Member status through the 100th anniversary of the certification of the right for women to vote (see Wednesday’s story below), Lipnic was once again candid, genuine, and passionate in her presentation.
Current Commissioner Line-Up
There are two current Commissioner seat vacancies as well as a seat to replace Commission Lipnic (see the nominations announced in our June WIR).
Although there is nothing new to report here, Commissioner Lipnic reminded listeners that the EEOC released several resources throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. All COVID-19 related guidance may be found on the EEOC’s dedicated COVID-19 landing page.
Commissioner Lipnic spent a fair amount of time reviewing the Agency’s most recent statistics. You may recall that in June 2020, the Agency made visual formats available. In Fiscal Year 2019, charges of retaliation accounted for almost 60% of the charges filed, followed by disability, race, and sex discrimination.
Fiscal Year 2019
Oct 1, 2018 – Sept 30, 2019
Fiscal Year 2018
Oct 1, 2017 – Sept 30, 2018
|Pending Charge Inventory
Compensation claims while rising, continue to make up far less than 2% of all charges.
In light of the current state of affairs, it is yet to be seen if charges of harassment have increased. There were 66 lawsuits filed alleging harassment in FY18, which was a 50% increase from FY17. There were 48 filed and resolved harassment suits in FY19 (10 more resolutions than FY18). However, as the playing field has shifted for many to a remote work environment, Commissioner Lipnic recommended that employers need to consider how to educate employees and manage claims of online harassment in the workplace.
For Fiscal Year 2019:
- 144 Merits suits filed (100 individual, 27 non-systemic class, 17 systemic)
- 172 Merits suits resolved
- $38.6Mil in monetary benefits in cases resolved
The majority of these suits fell under Title VII and the ADA, while less than ten fell under the Age Discrimination in Employment and Equal Pay Acts.
The Agency’s most recent significant lawsuits include such topics as physical abilities testing, age discrimination during a reduction in force, disability discrimination towards the deaf and hard of hearing, and a race, national origin, and sex discrimination suit alleging harassment, unequal pay, denials of promotions, and retaliation. See slides 14 and 15 of Commissioner Lipnic’s PowerPoint slides for more details on these cases.
Rounding out Commissioner Lipnics’ address were highlights from the EEOC’s workplace respect training, issues to watch (within the Supreme Court, and surrounding the topics of pay, harassment, and age), the Agency’s spring regulatory agenda and finally, the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment of women’s right to vote.
You may recall at last years’ NILG Conference, Ms. Lipnic shared with us her personal commitment to read, in order, a biography on each President of the United States. After her extended studies on George Washington (she admittedly explained to us that she became fascinated with Washington, and thereby spent much longer researching him than expected), she has moved on to John Adams. Ms. Lipnic shared with us how First Lady Abigail Adams wrote to her husband on March 31, 1776, while he was at the first Continental Congress to: “Remember the Ladies.”
Review Ms. Lipnic’s entire presentation here.