The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has released its annual enforcement and litigation statistics for fiscal year 2019. For fiscal year 2019, retaliation, disability discrimination, race discrimination, and sex discrimination charges continue to constitute the most frequently filed types of charges.
One key takeaway: the EEOC received 39,110 charges alleging retaliation, which represented 53.8% of all filed charges. This reality is critical for employers to note in setting workplace standards and investigating workplace complaints, as charges of discrimination or harassment frequently include retaliation allegations as well.
Notably, the EEOC received 7,514 charges of sexual harassment/hostile work environment in fiscal year 2019, which represented slightly over 10% of all filed charges. Although this was a 1.2% decrease from the prior fiscal year, sexual harassment charges still make up a significant proportion of the EEOC’s caseload.
Another continuing trend: the number of EEOC charges filed alleging LGBTQ-based sex discrimination increased again to 1,868 charges in fiscal year 2019, from 1,811 the prior year. The Supreme Court is expected to rule this year about whether these kinds of claims are viable under Title VII’s statutory framework.
On the litigation side, the EEOC’s enforcement numbers took a slight dip, with 157 lawsuits filed in fiscal year 2019, in comparison to 217 filed in fiscal year 2018. Similarly, the EEOC’s recovery on behalf of complainants dipped from $53.6 million in fiscal year 2018 to $39.1 million in fiscal year 2019.
Despite these decreased numbers, the remaining data show that enforcement activity at the EEOC continues at a strong pace, and employers should bear that in mind when considering workplace training and management practices.