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Earlier this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released its fiscal year 2013 enforcement and litigation statistical report.  Each year, the EEOC publishes a comprehensive set of data tables which contain statistics on topics such as numbers of charges filed, types of charges filed, litigation and resolution numbers, and a myriad of other tables that provide insight into the agency’s actions over the 12-month period.

While the total number of charges filed is down about 5.7 percent from the previous fiscal year, the EEOC touted a record-setting $372.1 million in monetary relief recovered by the agency.  Especially notable statistics include the following:

  • The EEOC received 93,727 total charges in FY 2013, which is a decrease of roughly 6,000 charges over the previous three fiscal years.
  • Charging parties recovered approximately $372.1 million total, which is a $6.7 million increase from FY 2012. 
  • As in previous years, retaliation under all statutes was the most frequently cited basis for charges of discrimination, increasing in both actual numbers (38,539 charges in FY 2013 compared to 37,836 charges in FY 2012) and as a percentage of all charges (41.1 percent in FY 2013 compared to 38.1 percent in FY 2012) from the previous year.  This was followed by race discrimination (33,068 charges or 35.3 percent); sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination (27,687 charges or 29.5 percent); and discrimination based on disability (25,957 charges or 27.7 percent).
  • The five states with the highest number of charges were: Texas (9,068 charges, accounting for the most EEOC charges in any state and 9.7 percent of all charges filed), Florida (7,597 charges), California (6,892 charges), Georgia (5,162 charges) and Illinois (4,781 charges).
  • Overall, the percentage of “reasonable cause” findings slightly decreased in FY 2013, from 3.8 percent in FY 2012 to 3.6 percent in FY 2013.
  • The EEOC filed 131 “merits lawsuits” alleging discrimination, which is slightly more than FY 2012.  “Merits lawsuits” include “direct suits and interventions alleging violations of the substantive provisions of the statutes enforced by the Commission and suits to enforce administrative settlements.”  Lawsuits brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were the most numerous (78), followed by suits filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (51).
  • The EEOC resolved fewer cases in FY 2013 than in the sixteen previous fiscal years, attributing the drop in resolutions to “extraordinary fiscal constraints and operational challenges.” 

Employers should take note of the trends revealed by the report.  Notably, retaliation charges continue to be on the rise, with the number of retaliation-based charges increasing each year since FY 2006.  Furthermore, employers should be aware that the EEOC was most likely to find “reasonable cause” in charges involving the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) and sexual harassment.