EEOC Releases Annual Report

The U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released its summary report of charges for fiscal year 2010, and retaliation charges led the way for the most charges filed in the period 36,258 charges (an increase of 36.3 percent over the previous fiscal year. The number of race discrimination charges filed with the agency rose as well, up to 35,890 from 33,579 in 2009 (an increase of 35.9 percent).

Prudent employers will think about the possibility of retaliation claims when interacting with potential charging parties. Whether they administer discipline, change an employee's assignment, or move an employee's office, employers should be able to document the bona fide reasons for taking these actions. Also, in the event an employee files a charge of discrimination, an employer should take precautions to document any post-charge interactions with the employee so they won't be viewed as retaliation.

Not only did charges increase for retaliation and race discrimination in 2010, charge numbers under all the laws the EEOC enforces rose in 2010:

Sex discrimination charges increased from 28,028 to 29,029 in the last fiscal year.
National origin discrimination charges increased from 11.134 to 11,304.
Age discrimination charges rose from 22,778 in 2009 to 23,264 in 2010.
Disability charges increased from 21,451 to 25,165.
Religious discrimination charges rose from 3,386 to 3,790 in 2010.
Equal Pay Act charges increase from 942 to 1,044.

The number of overall charges filed with the EEOC increased from 93,277 in 2009 to 99,922 in 2010. Factors contributing to this significant increase include poor economic conditions, increased diversity and demographic shifts in the labor force, employees' greater awareness of the laws, and improvements in the EEOC's intake practices.

In fiscal year 2010, the EEOC secured more than $404 million in monetary benefits from employers through its enforcement, mediation, and litigation programs a new record! These statistics and sums charged to employers underscore the importance of avoiding discrimination in the workplace.

SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist with your human resource issues, including training for avoiding claims of discrimination. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com.