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The EEOC recently released its Fiscal Year 2014 statistics, summarizing the data collected from its year ending September 30, 2014.  The full report and access to the data tables can be found here.

The EEOC reports that it received 88,778 charges last year.  This is a decrease from recent years, which the EEOC attributes at least partly to the 2013 government shut-down.  42.8% of 2014 claims were based on allegations of retaliation.  This is up from last year, indicating once again that employers must carefully consider any potential adverse employment action not only for possible discrimination against a protected class, but also to avoid the appearance of retaliation or other unlawful conduct.  Other claims most often alleged were race, sex, disability, and age discrimination, in that order. 

Enforcement proceedings administered by the EEOC itself garnered $296.1 million in total monetary relief in 2014, and the EEOC’s litigation program collected $22.5 million.

Not surprisingly, the most complained of practice was again discharge.  However, 30% of all charges in Fiscal Year 2014 alleged harassment of some type, including sexual or racial harassment.  This is an increase from prior years.  The take away from these statistics is that employers should be proactive in educating employees about their obligations under the law.  We believe that training to properly and fairly evaluate, discipline, supervise, and otherwise deal with employees is a key element in reducing charges of discrimination.

As always, the foregoing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any particular situation and should not be relied on as such.  Please contact one of our labor and employment lawyers if you have any questions.

This update was prepared by Charles S. Elbert, D. Leo Human, and Erin M. Leach.