The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) secured more than $482.1 million for victims of discrimination in private, state and local government and federal workplaces during fiscal year 2016, which ended Sept. 30, the agency reported in its annual Performance and Accountability Report published on Nov. 15.
This includes $347.9 million for victims of employment discrimination in private sector and state and local government workplaces through mediation, conciliation, and settlements; $52.2 million for workers harmed by discriminatory practices through agency litigation; and $82 million for federal employees and applicants. Importantly, in each of these categories, the agency obtained substantial changes to discriminatory practices to remedy violations of equal employment opportunity laws and prevent future discriminatory conduct.
“For over 50 years, EEOC has worked to fulfill our nation’s shared vision of equality and justice for all, said Chair Jenny Yang. “To achieve this vision, the agency has undertaken a comprehensive effort to strategically deploy its resources to matters where government focus is most needed. We are proud of our efforts to foster constructive solutions that promote prosperity for all our workers, employers and communities.”
Significant agency accomplishments in fiscal year 2016 include the following:
EEOC increased the number of charges staff resolved to 97,443 charges, 6.5 percent more than the charges EEOC received. This resulted in a reduction of charge workload by 3.8 percent to 73,508, a 3,100 charge reduction compared with fiscal year 2015. The agency also handled over 585,000 calls to its toll-free number and more than 160,000 pre-charge inquiries in field offices, reflecting the significant public demand for EEOC’s services.
EEOC helped workers obtain relief by resolving over 15,800 charges of discrimination through the agency’s administrative processes-settlements, mediations, and conciliations. Systemic cases address patterns or practices of discrimination or policies that have a broad impact on a region, industry, or a group of employees or job applicants. In fiscal year 2016, EEOC resolved 273 systemic investigations before filing litigation, obtaining more than $20.3 million in remedies. In litigation, EEOC resolved 21 systemic cases, six of which included at least 50 victims of discrimination and two of which included over 1,000 victims of discrimination.
The agency’s outreach programs reached 315,000 people during the year through participation in 3,700 no-cost educational, training and outreach events. EEOC also revamped its Youth@Work website to provide updated resources for America’s next generation of workers. To help small businesses, EEOC launched the online Small Business Resource Center to provide a one-stop shop to help small businesses access information about employer responsibilities to prevent or eliminate discrimination on the job.
In fiscal year 2016, EEOC’s legal staff resolved 139 merits lawsuits in the federal district courts for a total monetary recovery of $52.2 million. EEOC filed 86 lawsuits alleging discrimination during fiscal year 2016 and achieved a favorable resolution in approximately 90.6 percent of all district court resolutions. The filings include 55 individual suits and 13 suits involving multiple victims or discriminatory policies, and 18 systemic suits.
In our federal sector program, the agency resolved 6,792 hearings complaints and secured more than $76.9 million in relief for federal employees. EEOC also resolved 3,751 appeals of agency decisions on federal sector complaints, including 47.3 percent of them within 180 days of receipt, and secured more than $5.1 million in relief.
In fiscal year 2016, EEOC continued to focus efforts on those activities likely to have strategic impact in advancing equal opportunity in the workplace through implementation of its Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016, which the Office of Management and Budget authorized the Commission to extend through fiscal year 2018, and the related SEP.
EEOC’s fiscal year 2016 Performance and Accountability Report is posted on the agency’s web site at https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/upload/2016par.pdf target=”_blank”. Comprehensive enforcement and litigation statistics for fiscal year 2016 will be available on the agency’s website in the near future.