The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced that it received 91,503 charges of workplace discrimination in fiscal year 2016. This is the second year in a row that the number of charges filed with EEOC has increased. During that same time period the EEOC resolved 97,443 charges and obtained more than $482 million for those claiming discrimination in private, federal and state and local government workplaces.
The EEOC also released, for the first time, detailed information about LGBT charges in its year-end summary. In fiscal year 2016 the EEOC resolved 1,650 charges and recovered $4.4 million for LGBT individuals who filed sex discrimination charges with the EEOC. The data show a steady increase in the four years the agency has been collecting LGBT charge data. From fiscal year 2013 through fiscal year 2016, nearly 4,000 charges were filed with the EEOC by LGBT individuals and the EEOC recovered $10.8 million in connection with those charges.
The charge numbers show the following breakdowns by bases alleged, in descending order:
- Retaliation: 42,018
- Race: 32,309
- Disability: 28,073
- Sex: 26,934
- Age: 20,857
- National Origin: 9,840
- Religion: 3,825
- Color: 3,102
- Equal Pay Act: 1,075
- Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act: 238
In addition to the charges of discrimination that were resolved, the EEOC resolved 139 lawsuits and filed 86 lawsuits alleging discrimination in fiscal year 2016. The lawsuits filed by the EEOC included 55 individual suits and 31 suits involving multiple victims or discriminatory policies.
These figures demonstrate that the EEOC remains active in investigating allegations of workplace discrimination and enforcing federal law prohibiting such discrimination. Employers should remain diligent in enforcing their workplace anti-discrimination and retaliation policies as well as reviewing those policies to ensure they are current.
Lillig & Thorsness, Ltd. counsels and represents employers in a variety of industries throughout the United States in connection with their employment contracts, employee handbooks, management training, and defense of unlawful employment practices claims.