Workplace discrimination complaints against private sector firms hit an all time high in 2010.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported the filings with the federal agency nationwide totaled 99,922 during fiscal year 2010, which ended Sept. 30, 2010. That was a 7 percent increase and the highest number in the commission’s history.
The EEOC filed 250 lawsuits, resolved 285 lawsuits, and resolved 104,999 private sector charges during the last fiscal year. Through its combined enforcement, mediation and litigation programs, the EEOC said it secured more than $404 million in monetary awards from employers — the highest level of monetary relief ever obtained by the commission through the administrative process.
According to the FY 2010 data, all major categories of charge filings in the private sector (which include charges filed against state and local governments) increased. These include charges alleging discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; the Equal Pay Act; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act; and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
Last year, for the first time ever, retaliation under all statutes (36,258) surpassed race (35,890) as the most frequently filed charge, while allegations based on religion (3,790), disability (25,165) and age (23,264) increased.
In its first year of enforcement, the EEOC received 201 charges under GINA. Historically, race had been the most frequently filed charge since the EEOC became operational in 1965.
Despite the increase in overall charges filed with the EEOC last fiscal year, the commission said it slowed the growth of the charge inventory. As a result, the federal agency ended FY 2010 with 86,338 pending charges – an increase of only 570 charges, or less than one percent. Between fiscal years 2008 and 2009, the EEOC’s pending inventory increased 15.9 percent.
“We are pleased to see that our rebuilding efforts are having an impact on how efficiently and effectively the Commission enforces the civil rights laws protecting the nation’s workers,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “Discrimination continues to be a substantial problem for too many job seekers and workers, and we must continue to build our capacity to enforce the laws that ensure that workplaces are free of unlawful bias.”
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