On December 17, 2013, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its annual performance and accountability report for fiscal year 2013. In FY2013, which ended September 30, 2013, the EEOC obtained a record-high $372.1 million for victims of workplace discrimination in the private sector through its administrative enforcement efforts. The agency recovered an additional $39 million through litigation, and more than $160 million through mediation. The EEOC received 93,727 private sector charges, which is a decrease of approximately 6,000 charges over the three prior fiscal years.
The EEOC resolved 14,000 fewer pending charges than in FY2012 and 2011. This is likely attributable to the decline in staffing and because of sequestration. The agency furloughed its entire workforce for 40 hours, and instituted a hiring freeze. The 16-day government shutdown is not included because it came at the beginning of FY2014.
The EEOC filed 131 merits lawsuits in FY2013, nine more than the preceding year. “Merits” lawsuits are those with outcomes favorable to charging parties or with meritorious allegations. Overall, the agency has decreased the number of lawsuits it is filing, and has changed its focus to suits alleging systemic discrimination. At the close of FY2013, 54 percent of the EEOC’s cases on its active litigation docket involved challenges to systemic discrimination. In addition, in FY2013 the EEOC completed work in 300 charge investigations alleging systemic discrimination and recovered approximately $40 million in settlements.
The EEOC is making good on its promise to focus on cases of systemic discrimination. Employers who receive charges that allege or could involve systemic discrimination claims should be cautious, and speak to an MSEC attorney.