Although a government shutdown over budget priorities may be looming, that didn't stop the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from requesting an additional $18 million in funding for fiscal year 2012 to increase the ranks of its inspectors from 2,371 to 2,557—a 9.2-percent jump.

The budget request for $385.5 million (an increase of 9.5 percent) is aimed at facilitating the agency's Systemic Initiative of litigating high-profile cases involving groups or classes of alleged victims of discrimination. As the budget request states, "[S]ystemic cases generate substantial media and other public notice…[that] help deter other employers from engaging in similar prohibited conduct."

The Obama administration estimates that the EEOC will receive 105,917 new private sector discrimination charges this fiscal year, topping last year's record high of 99,922. The EEOC projects it will have a case backlog of 93,006 charges as of September. 30, 2011, the end of fiscal 2011. For fiscal 2012, the EEOC projects that it will receive 108,036 private sector charges and that EEOC will end FY 2012 with 100,834 pending charges in its backlog.