May 18, 2022
Laura L. Rubenstein
On March 28, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its Annual Performance Report and Enforcement and Litigation Statistics for fiscal year (FY) 2021 (covering October 1, 2020 –September 30, 2021). For the second year in a row, the total number of charges decreased as COVID-19 either closed companies or separated workers from each other. Voluntary settlements recovered by complainants alleging harassment, discrimination or retaliation was over $350 million. This number was somewhat surprising given the agency only resolved about 62,000 total cases in 2021. Here are 4 more interesting takeaways to glean from this latest report:
1. Downward Trend in Charges Filed; Uptick in Pending Charges
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received a total of 61,331 administrative charges in FY 2021, which was 9.1% fewer compared to FY 2020. This represents a continuing downward trend in the number of overall discrimination charges filed with the EEOC since 2017.
2. Retaliation — Once Again the Most Frequently Filed Claim
Retaliation continues to be the most frequently filed charge with the EEOC (56% of all charges filed; 34,332 in total), and that trend is not expected to change any time soon. Otherwise, the following type/number of charges were reported: disability (22,843 charges filed), race (20,908 charges filed), age (12,965 charges filed), national origin (6,213 charges filed), and color (3,516 charges filed). The EEOC also reported receiving 3,631 charges in FY 2021 alleging COVID-19 related discrimination, which accounted for 5.9 percent of the total charges received.
3. Rebuilding Enforcement Capacity
The EEOC stated that FY 2021 was a time of rebuilding and strengthening the enforcement capacity of the agency. The agency boosted its ranks by filling 450 front-line staff and attorney positions, ending the year with over 2,100 employees. The EEOC intends to increase staffing even further, hoping to reach 2,300 employees by the end of FY 2022.
4. Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania Top the List of Highest Number of Charges
More charges were filed in Texas than in any other state (6,508). Florida was second (4,941), and Pennsylvania came in third (3,960).
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For questions about workplace harassment or discrimination at your company, please contact Laura Rubenstein (LRubenstein@RKWlawgroup.com or 443-379-4013).