America’s ongoing economic struggles continued to fuel the job discrimination fire in 2011.
U.S. employees filed 99,947 charges of job discrimination with the EEOC in fiscal year 2011, which ended Sept. 30, according to the EEOC. That’s the highest number of job bias complaints filed by employees in the EEOC’s 46-year history.
During the first decade of this century, employees (on average) filed about 79,000 complaints annually of race, sex, age, disability, religion or national origin discrimination. In fiscal 2010, that number spiked to 99,922, fed by the poor economy and a new EEOC outreach program encouraging workers to file claims.
The record number of claims this year resulted in a record amount of financial recoveries for people who filed workplace discrimination charges. In FY 2011, the EEOC secured more than $364.6 million in monetary benefits through its private sector administrative enforcement activities, the most ever obtained by the EEOC and $45 million more than in FY 2010. Overall, the agency secured both monetary and nonmonetary benefits for more than 19,570 people through administrative enforcement activities – mediation, settlements and conciliations.
In addition, the EEOC finished 2011 with a 10% reduction in its inventory of pending cases—the first such reduction since 2002. The fiscal year ended with 78,136 pending charges—a decrease of 8,202 charges, or 10%. In previous years, the pending inventory had increased as staffing at the EEOC declined 30% between 2000 and 2008.
The message: The EEOC is no longer the agency where charges go to die. Employers can expect more aggressive enforcement and quicker resolutions of cases.
The EEOC announced these numbers on Nov. 15, 2011 as part of the release of its annual Performance and Accountability Report (PAR).