Private sector bias charges hit an all-time high. Employment discrimination complaints for businesses large and small increased to record levels during the “great recession”. Layoffs provide opportunity for employees to allege employment discrimination was the basis of why they were terminated. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received a record 99,947 charges of employment discrimination and obtained $455.6 million in relief through its administrative program and litigation in Fiscal Year 2011, the agency announced today.
“For the second year in a row, the EEOC received a record number of new charges of discrimination,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien. “Nevertheless, the hard work of our employees, combined with increased investments in training, technology and staffing in 2009 and 2010, and strategic management of existing resources made 2011 a year of extraordinary achievements for the EEOC.”
Despite a record number of receipts, the Commission resolved more charges than it took in with 112,499 resolutions (7,500 more resolutions than FY 2010—an increase of 7%)—leaving 78,136 pending charges, a ten percent decrease in its inventory, the first year the agency has seen a reduction since 2002.
The total number of charges received was up slightly from last fiscal year’s record total. Once again, charges alleging retaliation under all the statutes the EEOC enforces were the most numerous at 37,334 charges received, or 37.4 percent of all charges, closely followed by charges involving claims of race discrimination at 35,395 charges or 35.4 percent. While the numbers of charges with race and sex discrimination allegations declined from the previous year, charges with the two other most frequently-cited allegations increased:
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act - For the first full fiscal year of enforcement, the EEOC received 245 charges under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information, including family medical history. So far, none of these charges has proceeded to litigation.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - The agency’s enforcement of ADA produced the highest increase in monetary relief among all of the statutes: the administrative relief obtained for disability discrimination charges increased by almost 35.9 percent to $103.4 million compared to $76.1 million in the previous fiscal year. Back impairments were the most frequently cited impairment under the ADA, followed by other orthopedic impairments, depression, anxiety disorder and diabetes.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. To see the entire News Release read more.
The fiscal year 2011 enforcement and litigation statistics, which include trend data, are available on the EEOC’s website at: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/index.cfm.
More information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.
Source: US EEOC, News Release – Jan 25, 2012