25 More Charges Filed in 2011 than 2010

December 16, 2011

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported that there were a total of 25 more charges of discrimination filed in the fiscal year 2011 (October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011) than in 2010. While that doesn’t sound like much, the total number of charges filed amounted to another record year: 99,947 charges. The EEOC also indicated in its Performance and Accountability Report that it reduced its backlog of cases by 10 percent and collected over $346 million dollars on behalf of alleged victims of workplace discrimination. That is the highest level of monetary relief ever obtained by the EEOC through its administrative process.

The EEOC’s report also revealed that at the end of FY 2011, it was working on 580 systemic (class action) cases. During the year, the EEOC field offices completed work on 235 systemic investigations. Also a trend of concern for employers is the EEOC’s focus on building enforcement partnerships with other federal agencies including the Department of Justice and the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

Why You Should Be Concerned

It is evident that the EEOC is beefing up its arsenal against employers in an effort to increase the number of charges of discrimination that it handles. That means that complaints of discrimination that may have been looked at by the EEOC with a critical eye in the past, may now be more carefully evaluated. Accordingly, it is important for employers to understand that the EEOC is not a neutral governmental fact finder but, rather, an advocate for employees. If your company should receive a charge of discrimination, it is vitally important to treat the charge with a great deal of care and diligence in order to protect your rights.