Compensation

Here Comes EEOC 2013—Charges, Investigations, and Claims

Review of Charge Activity, Backlog, and Benefits Provided

On November 19, 2012, the EEOC announced the publication of the FY 2012 Performance and Accountability Report. During FY 2012, the Commission again received nearly 100,000 charges, with the past 3 years involving a record number of charges in the Commission’s 47-year history.

Since FY 2006, there has been a dramatic increase in the level of charge activity, except for a minor dip in FY 2009, says the Littler report, as shown by the following:

Fiscal Year

Number of Charges

2006

75,768

2007

82,792

2008

95,402

2009

93,277

2010

99,922

2011

99,947

2012

99,412

The Commission reported a “significant reduction” in its inventory of charges—its “backlog”—having reduced its inventory from 78,136 charges to 70,312 charges. The Commission also resolved a total of 111,139 charges in FY 2012, thus resolving more charges than were filed, the Littler report says.

A review of the Commission’s Annual Reports in FY 2011 and FY 2012 demonstrates that although there was a slight increase in the number of systemic investigations, there was a dramatic increase in terms of results achieved:

SYSTEMIC INVESTIGATIONS 2012 2011

Systemic Investigations

2012

2011

Number Completed

240

235

Settlements or Conciliation Agreements

65

35

Monetary Recovery

$36.2 million

$9.6 million

Individuals Benefited

3,813

(Not reported)

Reasonable Cause Findings

94

96

Percentage of “Reasonable Cause” Findings

39.1 %

40.8%

Systemic Lawsuits Filed

12

23


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The Commission underscored the impact of its systemic initiative during FY 2012, explaining, “The $36 million recovered in systemic resolutions this year is four times the amount recovered in FY 2011.”

While not mentioned in the EEOC 2012 Annual Report, a “reasonable cause” finding was reached in nearly 40% of the systemic investigations in FY 2011, compared to a “reasonable cause” finding typically being made in less than 5% of all EEOC charges, according to the Littler report.

The Commission also commented that “there was a focus on promoting coordination of field activities to ensure that investigations across districts that involve common issues are handled collaboratively, bringing greater efficiencies and reinforcing the national enforcement agency model.”

The Commission pointed to the “strong collaboration between the enforcement and legal staff in all aspects of systemic work.”

In reviewing all new court filings, the EEOC lawsuits included 66 Title VII claims, 45 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims, 12 Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) claims, and two Equal Pay Act (EPA) claims.

Based on a review of reported filings by the EEOC and Littler’s tracking of all EEOC filed lawsuits, a more detailed breakdown indicates the following:

Type of Claim

Number

ADA Claims

45

Multiple Claims

26

Retaliation

25

Sexual Harassment

23

Racial Discrimination or Related Harassment

14

Age Discrimination

12

Pregnancy Discrimination

11

Religious Discrimination or Related Harassment

11

National Origin Discrimination or Related Harassment

7

A very active EEOC—not the news many employers wanted to hear but all the more reason to review your compensation compliance. Where‘s the best place to start? Wage/hour—it should be simple, but it’s not. Complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is one of the most confusing and challenging things comp managers have to do.

Even the most savvy practitioners get tripped up, and the law’s complex requirements can easily land you and your company on the wrong side of a lawsuit or DOL investigation.

Fortunately, there’s help—Wage & Hour Compliance: Practical Solutions for HR provides you with detailed guidance on how to comply with the FLSA and takes you through the most complicated wage & hour issues that HR practitioners encounter.

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  • Multiple quizzes, so you can see where you need to review more carefully
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  • State-specific charts, for comparing your multistate obligations
  • Sample policies, easily modified to fit your specific preferences
  • A quarterly newsletter, Wage & Hour Compliance Bulletin, to keep you aware of the latest developments in the law, and why they matter to you.

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Why are aggressive attorneys so eager to file claims on behalf of employees? Because there’s so much money to be made:

  • $4.75 million: Hospital in Thousand Oaks, California, settles wage and hour lawsuit over miscalculated overtime pay and failing to compensate workers for missed meal and rest periods
  • $1.15 million: Las Vegas construction company to pay in back wages to 1,060 current and former employees
  • $976,327: New Mexico aerospace company settles with 900 employees who were routinely required to work through lunch breaks without compensation
  • $340,400: New Jersey convenience store to pay back wages and damages for violations of overtime and recordkeeping
  • $84,541: New York physical therapist agrees to pay 22 employees for minimum wage violations
  • $30,000: Texas chain of four gas stations to pay their six hourly employees, again for recordkeeping and overtime violations

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