Yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced it received 99,412 private sector workplace discrimination charges during the 2012 fiscal year. In its press release , the EEOC noted that while the number of charges is down slightly from last year, it recovered $365.4 million dollars for employees, the "largest amount of monetary recovery" through its administrative process.
(Side note: I’m not sure how that’s the "largest" recovery, if EEOC recovered $404 million in 2010, but then again I’m no math major….).
For the third year in a row, retaliation claims were the most frequently filed claim (38.1%), followed by race (33.7%), sex (30.5%), and disability (26.5%). There was a jump in sex and disability claims over last year.
A stat I found particularly interesting is that although the EEOC reduced the pending inventory of charges by 10% from the 2011 fiscal year, it still has over 70,000 cases in queue. So, for those of you who feel like you’ve been waiting for-ev-er for a determination, don’t worry — you’re clearly not alone!
What does this mean for employers? Be extra extra careful not to take any action that remotely resembles retaliation! I know we say this every chance we get, but it’s SO important, and these statistics prove it. Remember, even if the employee does not have a valid underlying claim, he/she can have a valid retaliation claim if take adverse action after you learn of the employee’s discrimination or harassment complaint. Don’t be a statistic!