The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently released a comprehensive set of fiscal year 2013 data tables showing that it obtained the highest monetary recovery in agency history through its administrative process, increasing by $6.7 million to $372.1 million of the 93,727 charges received in fiscal year (“FY”) 2013.
There was actually a nearly 6% decrease in charges filed in FY 2013 from FY 2012. In total, 93,727 employees filed charges with the EEOC. Consistent with past years, retaliation was the most commonly cited basis (more than 35,500 charges) for discrimination charges and increased in FY 2013. The next most commonly charge was racial discrimination (more than 33,000 charges) followed by gender/sexual harassment/pregnancy discrimination (nearly 28,000 charges) and then disability discrimination (with almost 26,000 charges). EEOC’s data showed more than 3,000 charges were found to be “reasonable cause,” where the evidence gained in the investigation rendered a conclusion that discrimination occurred. The data also demonstrated that the EEOC successfully conciliated 1,437 charges (approximately 40%). A “successful conciliation” is described by EEOC as one that results in substantial relief to the employee citing discrimination and all others adversely affected by discrimination.
It is true that of the 93,727 charges filed in FY 2013, two-thirds were issued “no reasonable cause” for finding discrimination. However, lest employees think that the EEOC is just a maze of bureaucracy, for the fourth year in a row, the EEOC resolved more charges of discrimination than it took in, despite the sequestration and other factors. The EEOC filed 131 lawsuits alleging discrimination, mostly under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Further, out of close to 18,000 charges, the EEOC reached a “merit resolution,” i.e., outcomes were favorable to charging parties. These include negotiated settlements, withdrawals with benefits, successful conciliations, and unsuccessful conciliations. Finally, during FY 2013, the EEOC resolved more than 200 merits lawsuits, resulting in $39 million in monetary benefits to victims of unlawful discrimination, plus wide-ranging injunctive relief, tailored to the particular issue in the lawsuits.
As this blog has posted previously, employees who believe they’ve been discriminated against must exhaust administrative remedies by filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC before filing a civil suit. This data indicates that taking this extra step is worth the trouble.
Do you think your employer has discriminated against you? Set up a consultation with a BerlikLaw attorney to learn about your rights.
by Amy Gluck – Contributor