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Charges of Job Discrimination against Employers Hit Record High in FY 2010, EEOC Reports

Charges of Job Discrimination against Employers Hit Record High in FY 2010, EEOC Reports
  • January 14, 2011

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has confirmed our suspicions.  Individuals are bringing more charges of workplace discrimination against their private-sector employers than ever before.  The EEOC has reported that it received nearly 100,000 workplace discrimination charges in its fiscal year 2010 (ending September 30, 2010).  The number of charges filed (99,922) is more than seven percent higher than the year before.

The agency noted another record for FY 2010:  through its enforcement, mediation and litigation programs, it secured more than $404 million in monetary benefits from employers.

The EEOC enforces the following federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), 
  • the Equal Pay Act (EPA), 
  • the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 
  • the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and 
  • the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

The number of individual charge filing increased in each category.  For the first time ever, retaliation under all statutes (36,258) was the most frequently filed charge.  (Individuals often file retaliation charges with other types of discrimination charges.)  Race discrimination charges (35,890) dropped to second place, though still an increase from the previous year (33,937).  In addition, the EEOC receive 201 charges under GINA in its first year of enforcement.

What to Expect

No doubt the EEOC has been energized by the December 2010 confirmations of Jacqueline A. Berrien as Chair of the Commission, Chai R. Feldblum and Victoria A. Lipnic as Commissioners, and P. David Lopez as General Counsel, and the hiring of new front-line staff.  Chairperson Berrien will serve a term that expires on July 1, 2014.  Commissioners Feldblum’s and Lipnic’s terms will expire on July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2015, respectively.  They join Commissioners Stuart J. Ishimaru (whose term expires July 1, 2012) and Constance S. Barker (whose term expires July 1, 2011).

Moreover, the agency is continuing “its concerted effort to build a strong national systemic enforcement program.  At the end of the fiscal year, 465 systemic investigations, involving more than 2,000 charges, were being undertaken.”  The emphasis on systemic or class-wide discrimination means the agency is devoting resources to bring more multiple-plaintiff cases against employers.

Employers can lower the risk of costly and burdensome litigation and EEOC enforcement actions by reviewing their pay, promotion and decision-making practices and policies with counsel to ensure they are in compliance with the law.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to answer inquiries regarding the EEOC, direct confidential workplace assessments and internal legal vulnerability audits, and assist in developing best workplace practices. 

©2011 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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