Diversity & Inclusion

EEOC Claims Continue to Rise

According to its annual report issued November 16, 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 93,277 private-sector discrimination charges in fiscal year (FY) 2009, its second highest total in the past 20 years. In addition, the EEOC obtained record relief of almost $300 million for alleged discrimination victims through administrative enforcement.

Breakdown of Charges

The EEOC achieved record monetary awards totaling $294.1 million through administrative enforcement, which includes settlements and mediation of private-sector charges. The commission secured monetary and nonmonetary benefits for about 17,490 individuals through charge processing. The EEOC mediation program remains strong, obtaining $121.6 million during FY 2009 for employees filing discrimination charges.

The EEOC filed 281 lawsuits in FY 2009, with 111 of them seeking relief for classes of individuals. The agency also resolved 319 lawsuits for a total of $80.6 million. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was implicated in 249 lawsuits, 40 involved claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 38 contained Age Discrimination in Employment Act claims, and five were filed under the Equal Pay Act.

The EEOC filed 19 new court cases targeting systemic discrimination in FY 2009. The agency was also investigating 39 commissioner’s charges as of September 30, 2009, compared to 15 such charges a year earlier.

Bottom Line

According to the EEOC report, the agency’s work-load remains historically high, and its case inventory exceeded 85,000 charges by September 30, 2009, the end of the fiscal year. In FY 2009, the EEOC began expanding its staff for the first time in nearly a decade, increasing its budget to $344 million. By the end of FY 2009, the agency’s workforce had grown by 155 new hires. The EEOC is expected to continue hiring workers to handle the increasing number of claims, adding at least 140 new employees through FY 2010