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Retaliation Still Rocking First Place for EEOC Charges Filed

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the federal watchdog for employment discrimination claims, released their long awaited charge statistics for fiscal year 2018.  As we have written the last three years, retaliation claims continue to be the most filed claim!

Here is the breakdown for fiscal year 2018:

  • Retaliation: 39,469 (51.6% of charges filed)
  • Sex: 24,655 (32.3%)
  • Disability: 24,605 (32.2%)
  • Race: 24,600 (32.2%)
  • Age: 16,911 (22.1%)
  • National Origin: 7,106 (9.3%)
  • Color: 3,166 (4.1%)
  • Religion: 2,859 (3.7%)
  • Equal Pay Act: 1,066 (1.4%)
  • Genetic Information: 220 (3%)

The charge statistics also show the lasting impact the #MeToo movement continues to have.  Of the sex claims filed, 7,609 (almost a third) were sexual harassment charges.  This was a 13.6 percent increase from fiscal year 2017. 

For employers operating in the new #MeToo world, these statistics should serve as a good reminder.  First, the #MeToo movement is not showing any signs of stopping.  Employers need to take claims of sexual harassment seriously and take appropriate action!

Second, watch out for retaliation claims.  Even if the alleged underlying discrimination is unfounded, an employee can still win a retaliation claim.  It is human nature to have your feelings hurt when someone accuses you of discrimination or harassment.  In response, you may start treating the employee differently.  This is retaliation!  You cannot pick on someone or even treat them differently because they made a claim. 

Employers should continue to train managers on what to do if they receive a complaint of harassment or discrimination and how to spot these issues.  They should also remind and then train managers not to pick on an employee because they made a complaint.  The goal is to create an environment where employees feel empowered to speak up and find comfort knowing the company will take appropriate action. This is what makes a company a great place to work.

Brody and Associates regularly provides training and counseling on maintaining a harassment free environment and on employment law issues in general. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560.