What Employers Can Learn From EEOC’s Enforcement Efforts

EEOC’s Enforcement Efforts

Discrimination in the workplace is, unfortunately, alive and well. In fiscal year 2022, for example, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 73,485 discrimination charges. While many of these charges alleged multiple discrimination types, the most common continues to be retaliation with 37,898 charges alleging it — more than 50 percent! But the EEOC’s data dashboard and the Office of General Counsel Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Report may help employers determine which of their policies and practices might need updating to avoid workplace discrimination allegations. 

Employees can file discrimination charges with either the the EEOC or the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) — depending on whether they allege a federal or state anti-discrimination law was violated. The CRD hasn’t released its data yet (here’s their fiscal year 2021 report), but according to the EEOC’s data dashboard, Californians filed 10,309 discrimination charges with the EEOC in fiscal year 2022 — 6.1 percent of the total charges — which include the following alleged charges (charges could allege multiple discrimination types):

  • 2,259 retaliation;
  • 1,550 religion-based discrimination;
  • 1,338 disability discrimination; and
  • 1,030 race discrimination.

While the general charge types filed across the U.S. generally stay the same each year, religion-based discrimination charges increased from 2,111 charges in fiscal year 2021 to 13,814 charges in fiscal year 2022 — an increase of approximately 600 percent! And this was before the June 29, 2023, U.S. Supreme Court decision updated the federal religious accommodation test in Groff v. Dejoy.

Additionally, in fiscal year 2023, the EEOC filed 143 lawsuits, receiving more than $22.6 million for employment discrimination victims, and ended the year with 227 cases on its active docket. The most common lawsuits alleged retaliation (39.2 percent), sex discrimination (35 percent) and disability (34.3 percent). At issue in most of the lawsuits was employment termination (69.2 percent), harassment (39.2 percent) and hiring issues (25.2 percent). Furthermore, the EEOC was successful in 91 percent of their lawsuit resolutions.

Employers should make sure their managers are trained on and their employees are following their anti-discrimination policies. Additionally, make sure to follow best practices for employment termination and hiring.

Katie Culliton, Editor, CalChamber

CalChamber members can read more in HRCalifornia Extra’s EEOC Enforcement Efforts Remind Employers to Review Anti-Discrimination Policies, Practices. Not a member? Learn how to power your business with a CalChamber membership.

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