On February 26th, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released their fiscal year 2020 enforcement data. Specifically, the release includes a breakdown for the 67,448 charges of workplace discrimination received in Fiscal Year 2020. Earlier, the EEOC issued their FY 2020 performance report, announcing a record amount of recovery for workplace discrimination victims.
Overview of EEOC Resolutions
Included within the fiscal year 2020 enforcement data report, the EEOC claims to have resolved 70,804 charges. Accordingly, the agency increased its merit factor resolution rate to 17.4 percent from 15.6 percent the prior year. Merit resolutions refer to charges resolved in the agency’s pre-litigation process in favor of the individual who filed the charge. The EEOC also responded to:
- over 470,000 calls to its toll-free number; and
- more than 187,000 inquiries in field offices (including 122,775 inquiries through the online intake and appointment scheduling system).
The EEOC also reduced its inventory of pending charges by 3.7 percent.
Review of the EEOC Report
The fiscal year 2020 enforcement data shows that retaliation remained the most frequently cited claim filed with the EEOC. To illustrate the prominence of retaliation in the workplace, that charge accounted for 55.8 percent of all charges filed. Disability, race, and sex discrimination followed retaliation on the list. Specifically, the charge numbers below show the categories of discrimination, in descending order of frequency:
- Retaliation: 37,632 (55.8 percent* of all charges filed)
- Disability: 24,324 (36.1 percent)
- Race: 22,064 (32.7 percent)
- Sex: 21,398 (31.7 percent)
- Age: 14,183 (21.0 percent)
- National Origin: 6,377 (9.5 percent)
- Color: 3,562 (5.3 percent)
- Religion: 2,404 (3.6 percent)
- Equal Pay Act: 980 (1.5 percent)
- Genetic Information: 440 (0.7 percent)
*The percentages above add up to more than 100% because some charges allege multiple bases.
Also included within the report, the EEOC resolved 165 merits lawsuits and filed 93 discrimination lawsuits during this time period. Subsequently, the agency recovered just over $106 million for charging parties and other aggrieved individuals through litigation. This represents the largest recovery through the EEOC’s litigation program over the past 16 years. The EEOC also achieved a successful outcome in 95.8 percent of all district court resolutions.
In conclusion, the information included within the EEOC’s fiscal year 2020 enforcement data 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 statutes and regulations. Employers need to investigate which federal, state, or local anti-discrimination laws they need to follow and keep employees fully trained.