Retaliation remains the most frequently filed claim according to fiscal year 2012 statistics released last week by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Retaliation overtook race discrimination as the most frequently alleged claim beginning in fiscal year 2009, and has led every fiscal year since then.
The EEOC received a total of 99,412 discrimination charges during fiscal year 2012. While this number is down slightly from the record number of charges filed in fiscal year 2011, 2012 marked the fifth consecutive year that neared the 100,000-charge level. The agency also recovered a record-high $365.4 million from employers for alleged discrimination victims through its administrative process, plus $44.2 million through its litigation program.
Retaliation was alleged in 38.1 percent of charges, while race discrimination was alleged in 33.7 percent of charges, and sex bias was alleged in 30.5 percent of the charges. The EEOC received 26,379 disability discrimination charges, or 26.5 percent of all charges, and 22,857 age discrimination charges, or 23 percent of the total. The least frequently filed charges remain alleged violations of the Equal Pay Act (1.1 percent), violations of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act violations (0.3 percent), color discrimination (2.7 percent), and religious discrimination charges (3.8 percent). These percentages total more than 100 percent because one charge may contain multiple alleged bases of discrimination or retaliation.
The agency reduced its case inventory by almost 10 percent for the second consecutive fiscal year, but it still has a charge backlog of 70,312 pending charges.
These statistics can guide employers that want to focus their efforts on the most significant risks. For example, harassment training for supervisors and managers is wise given that harassment charges represent 20 percent of the total charges. However, charges involving retaliation, race discrimination, and termination outpaced harassment charges, and so employers should also pay attention to these issues in their training and compliance efforts.
EEOC charge statistics from fiscal year 1997 through 2012, are available here.