On January 19th, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a press release discussing the agency’s annual performance report. Namely, the EEOC announced that it secured a record amount of recovery for victims of discrimination. The agency also touted that it continued to provide vital services to the public through the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the EEOC reported on its progress in achieving the goals outlined in the agency’s Strategic Plan. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Annual Performance Report (APR) follows other guidance the agency has recently released.

Highlights of the 2020 EEOC Annual Performance Report

The agency’s annual report for 2020 includes the following achievements:

  • Securing a record amount of recovery, more than $535 million, for victims of discrimination in the workplace. Specifically, it includes $333.2 million in monetary relief for private sector employees and applicants and state and local government workplaces. Mediation, conciliation, and other administrative enforcement helped to receive this amount. In addition, litigation resulted in $106 million in monetary relief; the highest it’s been since 2004.
  • Reducing the private sector charge workload by 3.7 percent to 41,951, the lowest pending inventory in 14 years. This decrease builds on a 12.1 percent decrease in FY 2019. Simultaneously, the agency increased the percentage of charges resolved with an outcome favorable to the charging party to 17.4 percent.
  • Conducting more than 2,690 outreach events in the private and federal sectors reaching nearly 300,000 people. During the pandemic, the EEOC realized the importance of providing the public with crucial information. Namely, information involving the interplay between COVID-19-related issues and employment discrimination laws. As such, the EEOC prioritized COVID-19-related outreach. EEOC staff participated in 365 outreach events related to COVID-19, reaching more than 50,000 individuals.
  • The EEOC’s mediation program continued to show positive results, as the agency adapted to providing mediations remotely during the pandemic. The EEOC conducted more than 6,700 mediations resulting in $156.6 million in benefits to charging parties. Since the mediation program was first implemented in 1999, the agency has conducted nearly 245,000 mediations. As a result, the EEOC resolved over 175,000 charges and obtained over $3 billion in benefits for aggrieved individuals. In fact, those resolutions occurred within an average processing time of 100 days.

Employer Takeaways

In conclusion, the record amount of recovery that the EEOC secured in FY 2020 should be important to employers. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency is continuing to regularly investigate and enforce federal employment anti-discrimination laws. The EEOC laws that apply to your business, however, will depend on the number of employees your business has. Many state and/or local employment discrimination laws may also apply to your business. Those laws, very often, mirror current EEOC legislation. Employers need to investigate which federal, state, or local anti-discrimination laws they need to follow and keep employees fully trained.