On January 6, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released data concerning charges of discrimination filed with the agency in FY2009. The EEOC resolved a record number of charges alleging harassment and violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. FY2009 saw the second highest number of charge filings nationwide, 93,277 –just about 2,000 filings less than the record high set for FY2008.
The EEOC reported an increase in charge filings for certain types of discrimination, such as disability, religion and national origin discrimination. Charges alleging age discrimination reached their second highest level, while charges alleging race, retaliation and sex discrimination continued to be the most frequent type of charge filed with the EEOC. The EEOC attributes such historic levels of filings to the public’s increased awareness of their rights, greater accessibility of the public to the EEOC, current economic conditions, as well as demographic changes within the labor force.
FY2009 also showed an increase in investigator producitivity. In FY 2009, Investigators resolved the second highest number of charges, per investigator, in the past 20 years. Ultimately, the EEOC collected approximately $376 million in monetary relief for victims of discrimination and resolved 85,980 charges nationwide in FY2009.
Historically the EEOC has been both underfunded and understaffed, which has affected its ability to timely handle the record numbers of charges filed with the Commission each year. Despite a hiring frenzy by the EEOC in FY2009, expect the backlog in the resolution of charges to continue.