By Edwin S. Hopson
On January 24, 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that in Fiscal Year 2011, it received a record 99,947 charges of employment discrimination. During that year it also obtained $455.6 million in relief through its administrative program as well as litigation. EEOC also announced that, as in Fiscal Year 2010, it resolved more charges than it took in with 112,499 case resolutions. That is an increase of some 7% over Fiscal Year 2010. This meant that for the first time in 10 years, the EEOC reduced its case inventory.
The Fiscal Year 2011 data also indicate:
-5.4 million individuals benefited from changes in employment policies or practices in their workplace during the past fiscal year.
-The EEOC’s mediation program reached record levels, both in the number of resolutions – 9,831 – which is 5% more than in Fisal Year 2010 (9,362), and benefits — $170,053,021– $29 million more than Fiscal Year 2010.
-The Commission filed 300 lawsuits and its litigation efforts resulted in $91 million of relief, representing the third year in a row that the relief obtained was greater than in the preceding fiscal year.
-Some 23 of the lawsuits filed by EEOC involved systemic allegations involving large numbers of persons and an additional 67 had multiple victims (less than 20).
-The Commission also filed 261 “merits” law suits, including direct law legal actions against respondents and interventions in pending private lawsuits alleging violations of the substantive provisions of the statutes it enforces, as well as suits to enforce administrative settlements.
-EEOC’s public outreach and education programs directly reached approximately 540,000 persons.
-In the federal sector, where the EEOC has different enforcement obligations, the Commission resolved a total of 7,672 requests for hearings, securing more than $58 million in relief for parties who requested hearings. It also resolved 4,510 appeals from final agency determinations.
Charges alleging retaliation under all the statutes the EEOC enforces were the most numerous at 37,334 charges received, or 37% of all charges. EEOC also announced that it received 35,395 charges alleging involving claims of race discrimination; this comprised some 35% of all charges received. While the numbers race discrimination charges declined from Fiscal Year 2010, charges with the three other most frequently-cited allegations increased:
EEOC’s enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, produced the highest increase in monetary relief among all of the statutes it administers: the administrative relief obtained for ADA charges increased by some 36% to $103.4 million compared to $76.1 million in Fiscal Year 2010.
In ADA cases, back impairments were the most frequently cited impairment, followed by other orthopedic impairments, depression and diabetes.
For the first full fiscal year of enforcement, EEOC received 245 charges under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information, including family medical history. Thus far, none of the GINA charges has proceeded to litigation.
The complete Fiscal Year 2011 enforcement and litigation statistics are available on the EEOC’s website at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/index.cfm.