Retaliation Still Dominates EEOC Charges Nationwide

Apr 23 2019 - Discrimination, Harassment - Katie Culliton

Sexual harassment charges increased 13.6 percent from FY 2017.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released detailed breakdowns of the 76,418 workplace discrimination charges the agency received in fiscal year (FY) 2018. Retaliation continues to be the most frequently filed charge for the agency.

In FY 2018, the EEOC resolved 90,558 discrimination charges and secured over $505 million for victims in private sector, state and local government, and federal workplaces. The EEOC reduced their charge workload by 19.5 percent even while handling 519,000 calls, 34,600 emails and more than 200,000 inquires in field offices.

“The statistics … indicate the EEOC has been handling its workload in a more efficient manner, expanding tools to provide better timelier service to the public while sharpening our focus on meritorious charges and those that advance the public interest,” said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic.

The most frequently filed charges for FY 2018 were:

  • Retaliation: 39,469 (51.6 percent);
  • Sex: 24,655 (32.3 percent);
  • Disability: 24,605 (32.2 percent); and
  • Race: 24,600 (32.2 percent).

Because some charges allege multiple biases, the percentages add up to more than 100.

The EEOC also received 7,609 sexual harassment charges, which is a 13.6 percent increase from FY 2017, and obtained $56.6 million in monetary benefits for victims.

Retaliation Charges From California Declining

The EEOC also tracks the number of charges by state. In FY 2018, California (4,344 charges) fell behind five other states — Texas (7,482 charges), Florida (6,617 charges), Georgia (4,919 charges), Pennsylvania (4,463 charges) and Illinois (4,444 charges).

Even though retaliation was, again, the number one charge in California, with 2,183 charges (50.3 percent), the number of retaliation charges filed is at a 10-year low. Retaliation charges peaked in FY 2012 at 3,406 before steadily declining.

Sexual harassment charges in California accounted for 4.3 percent (325 charges) of the total sexual harassment charges the EEOC received.

Retaliation Prevention

Strong California and federal laws protect employees against retaliation. In California, an employer has an obligation to prevent harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace.

Best practices include educating and training your managers and supervisors on what constitutes retaliation and your company’s policy against it.

Katie Culliton, Editor, CalChamber

#RespectWorks is free for companies to join. Companies who sign up receive a sample Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation Prevention Policy.

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