On November 16th, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its annual Fiscal Year 2020 Agency Financial Report. According to the report, the agency secured a record $535 million in recovery for victims of discrimination in the workplace during fiscal year 2020, which ended September 30th, 2020.  Additionally, the agency also made significant progress in managing pending inventories of charges, hearings, and appeals.

Overview of Fiscal Year 2020

When the fiscal year began, the agency wanted to focus on three separate goals:

  • agency-wide inventory reduction strategies;
  • building on technological enhancements and new digital systems; and
  • the hiring of front-line staff.

By implementing these goals, the EEOC reduced the private sector charge workload by 3.7 percent to 41,951. This is the lowest pending inventory that the agency has seen in 14 years. The decrease also builds on a 12.1 percent decrease that the EEOC reached in FY 2019. At the same time, the agency increased the percentage of charges resolved with an outcome favorable to the charging party. This was a rise of nearly two percent, to 17.4 percent.

Additionally, in the federal sector, the EEOC successfully decreased the pending inventory of hearing receipts for the third consecutive year. This was a reduction of 15.7 percent, from 12,933 in fiscal year 2019 to 10,905 in fiscal year 2020. The EEOC also reduced the number of federal sector appeals that were more than 500 days old by 32 percent.

Additional Fiscal Year 2020 Highlights

The EEOC also showed improvements in other areas:

  • The agency secured a record amount of recovery, more than $535 million, for victims of discrimination in the workplace. This includes $333.2 million relief for employees and applicants in the private sector and state and local government workplaces. The EEOC achieved this through mediation, conciliation, and other administrative enforcement. $106 million was also secured but through litigation. The litigation recovery was the highest since 2004. The EEOC also secured $96.2 million in monetary relief for federal employees and job applicants.
  • The agency adapted its mediation program to provide mediations remotely during the pandemic. More than 6,700 successful mediations resulting in $156.6 million in benefits to charging parties.
  • Educational, training, and outreach events were still provided during fiscal year 2020. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, EEOC staff conducted more than 2,690 outreach events reaching nearly 300,000 people.

Employer Takeaways

In addition, during Fiscal Year 2020, the EEOC also provided critical information in response to the global pandemic. Created for employers, the various guidance provided at a look at the connection between COVID-19-related issues and employment discrimination laws. This included a Q&A document, What You Should Know About COVID-19, the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws. Updated several times to address additional questions, the document received approximately 1 million downloads. While many EEOC laws apply to employers with 15+ employees, many states have their own laws prohibiting job discrimination. To prevent possible fines or lawsuits, employers need to investigate which, if any, state-specific anti-discrimination laws they need to follow.