The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee based on a person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
They annually issue a performance and accountability report – and the report for 2015 shows a slight increase – less than one percent – in new private sector bias cases. The Commission reports resolving some 92,641 discrimination charges during the last year.
Of particular interest to the EEOC are instances of systemic bias that are industry-wide or geographic in scope.
In 2015, the Commission investigated 268 cases of alleged systemic discrimination. They also filed 142 lawsuits on the merits of discrimination claims.
Monetary recoveries in 2015 included $356 million for private sector and state and local claimants through mediation, conciliation and settlements. That is up 20% ($60 million) from the amount recovered in 2014.
From the perspective of employers – the data from EEOC seems to show that the Commission is shifting its focus from individual cases to multi-victim systemic cases despite the fact that the number of new systemic bias lawsuits dropped slightly in 2015 from 2014.
The data suggests that the agency may be stretched a bit thin by the focus on systemic cases at the moment – due in large part to the fact that these cases are harder to develop and take much longer to litigate.
The 2015 EEOC report also shows that of the 142 lawsuits filed – 53 involved Americans with Disability Act claims or 37% of the total.
If you have questions about EEOC regulations and their enforcement, call us. The attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale each have over 20 years of experience in all aspects of employment law and the rights of employers. Please contact us if we can help you.
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