Job Bias Charges Hit Record High

March 24, 2009

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that workplace discrimination charge filings with the federal agency nationwide soared to an unprecedented level of 95,402 during Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, which ended Sept. 30. This level is a 15 percent increase from the previous fiscal year.

“The EEOC has not seen an increase of this magnitude in charges filed for many years. While we do not know if it signifies a trend, it is clear that employment discrimination remains a persistent problem,” said the Commission’s Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.

According to the FY 2008 data, all major categories of charge filings in the private sector (which includes charges filed against state and local governments) increased.

Charges based on age and retaliation saw the largest annual increases, while allegations based on race, sex and retaliation continued as the most frequently filed charges.

Officials said that the surge in charge filings may be due to multiple factors, including economic conditions, increased diversity and demographic shifts in the labor force, employees’ greater awareness of the law, EEOC’s focus on systemic litigation, and changes to EEOC’s intake practices.

The FY 2008 data also show that the EEOC filed 290 lawsuits, resolved 339 lawsuits, and resolved 81,081 private sector charges.

Through its enforcement, mediation and litigation programs, the EEOC said it recovered approximately $376 million in monetary relief for thousands of discrimination victims.

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