EEOC Reports Job Bias Charges Hit Record High of Nearly 100,000 in Fiscal Year 2010; Also Hits Record High in Monies Recovered from Employers

 
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
 

Question:  Is it reasonable for bias charges and monies recovered be the highest in history when the economy has been so bad?  Are these charges motivated by unemployment or by actual discrimination?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that private sector workplace discrimination charge filings with the federal agency nationwide hit an unprecedented level of 99,922 during fiscal year (FY) 2010, which ended Sept. 30, 2010.

Despite the increase in overall charges filed with the EEOC last fiscal year, the Commission dramatically slowed the growth of the charge inventory. As a result, the federal agency ended FY 2010 with 86,338 pending charges - an increase of only 570 charges, or less than one percent. Between fiscal years 2008 and 2009, the EEOC's pending inventory increased 15.9 percent.

"We are pleased to see that our rebuilding efforts are having an impact on how efficiently and effectively the Commission enforces the civil rights laws protecting the nation's workers," said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. "Discrimination continues to be a substantial problem for too many job seekers and workers, and we must continue to build our capacity to enforce the laws that ensure that workplaces are free of unlawful bias."

The FY 2010 data show that the EEOC filed 250 lawsuits, resolved 285 lawsuits, and resolved 104,999 private sector charges. Through its combined enforcement, mediation and litigation programs, the EEOC secured more than $404 million in monetary benefits from employers -- the highest level of monetary relief ever obtained by the Commission through the administrative process -- to promote inclusive and discrimination-free workplaces.

The FY 2010 enforcement and litigation statistics, which include trend data, are available online at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/index.cfm.

According to the FY 2010 data, all major categories of charge filings in the private sector (which include charges filed against state and local governments) increased. These include charges alleging discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; the Equal Pay Act; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act; and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Last year, for the first time ever, retaliation under all statutes (36,258) surpassed race (35,890) as the most frequently filed charge, while allegations based on religion (3,790), disability (25,165) and age (23,264) increased. In its first year of enforcement, the EEOC received 201 charges under GINA. Historically, race had been the most frequently filed charge since the EEOC became operational in 1965. http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/charges.cfm

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