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EEOC Charge Statistics – Retaliation Claims On the Rise

In fiscal year 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) received 89,385 charges of discrimination. This was an increase by approximately 1,000 charges from fiscal year 2014.

Of these 89,385 charges, the most common allegations were retaliation and race discrimination. The full analysis of the types of charges filed is as follows (the total exceeds 100% as one charge often includes multiple bases for the allegations of discrimination):

Retaliation 44.5%
Race 34.7%
Disability 30.2%
Sex 29.5%
Age 22.5%
National Origin 10.6%
Religion 3.9%
Color 3.2%
Equal Pay Act 1.1%
Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act .3%

The EEOC filed 142 merit lawsuits last year, the majority of which alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. This included 100 single plaintiff lawsuits and 42 lawsuits alleging multiple victims of discriminatory policies.  The latter are referred to as “pattern and practice” cases.  At its press release, the EEOC noted that “harassment” claims were made in 28,000 of the charges.

The national trend is clear: harassment and retaliation claims are the hottest allegations. In this vein, employers should make sure mechanisms are in place for employees to report not only discrimination, but also perceived harassment and relation claims.  If you put such mechanisms in place, the employer must be ready to take prompt remedial action to address any such complaints.  If you do, even if discrimination occurs, you may be able to avoid liability.  More importantly, you can show your employees they are important to the company and thus may be able to maintain positive employee relations even in challenging business times.

Brody and Associates regularly provides counsel on civil rights issues and employment laws in general. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560.