In a January 28, 2013 press release, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it received 99,412 private sector workplace discrimination charges during fiscal year 2012. Filings were down very slightly from a high of 99,947 in 2011. Retaliation claims continued to lead the pack, with 37,836 (38.1%) charges filed, followed closely by race with 33,512 (33.7%) and sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy claims) with 30,356 (30.5%). Disability claims were next, with 26,379 (26.5%) charges filed. Rounding out the top five were age claims, with 22,857 (23%) charges filed. You can find a complete chart of the EEOC’s charge statistics here.
The EEOC also reported that, in addition to non-monetary benefits, it secured just over $365 million from private sector and state and local government employers through its administrative enforcement process, including mediation, settlements, conciliations, and withdrawals with benefits. This was a new high in amounts recovered.
In light of the relatively constant number of charges filed over the past few years and the ever-increasing dollars recovered, employers must remain committed to treating their employees in accordance with state and federal anti-discrimination laws. As previously reported, even meritless claims cost employers time and money to defend – time and money that instead should be devoted to running their businesses. Employers with questions about how to handle a particular employee matter should consult with knowledgeable employment counsel before taking action.