EECO Has Banner Year

December 23, 2010

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has reported that for FY 2010, which ended September 30, a record 99,922 charges of discrimination were filed.  That is the largest number in the 45-year history of the Commission.  The agency also recovered more than $319 million in monetary benefits for individuals-its highest level ever.  Other achievements include:

  • The mediation program ended the year with a record 9,370 resolutions, 10 percent more than FY 2009 levels, and more than $142 million in monetary benefits.
  • The EEOC also expanded its reach to under-served communities by providing educational training and public outreach events to approximately 250,000 persons.
  • The agency continued its concerted effort to build a strong national systemic enforcement program. At the end of the fiscal year, 465 systemic investigations, involving more than 2,000 charges, were undertaken.
  • The EEOC resolved a total of 7,213 requests for hearings in the federal sector, securing more than $63 million in relief for parties who requested hearings. The agency also timely resolved more than 66 percent of federal sector appeals.

Key factors for this third straight year of record, or near record, charges include layoffs and cutbacks by employers.  While some may believe that the shift in control of the U.S. House of Representatives will stem the rising tide in discrimination claims made with the EEOC, this is likely not true.  While there has been a shift in the legislative branch, the current administration and administrative agencies like the EEOC do not need the approval of Congress to enforce existing laws.

The most important thing that employers can do to try and avoid this trend affecting their companies is to train managers and supervisors in what is required of them by various employment laws so that they may spot potential issues before they become problems.