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It’s that time of year – on January 25, 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released its Fiscal Year 2017 statistics summarizing the data collected from its year ending September 30, 2017.  The full report and access to the data tables can be found here.

The EEOC reports that it received 84,254 charges last year, which is less than the 91,503 charges in 2016 and the 89,385 charges in 2015. Although we have not researched the issue, this decrease may be attributable to relatively low unemployment. 48.8% of 2017 claims were based on allegations of retaliation. This indicates, 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. Retaliation claims can be easier for plaintiff to prove than discrimination claims. Other claims most often alleged were race (33.9%), disability (31.9%), sex (30.4%), and age discrimination (30.4%), in that order. Please note that these claim percentages, which do not even cover all claims (such as national origin, religion and genetic information) add up to more than 100% because many charges allege more than one claim.

99,109 charges were resolved in FY 2017. Enforcement proceedings administered by the EEOC itself garnered $398 million in total monetary relief in 2017.

Once again, the take away from these statistics is that employers should be proactive in educating employees, particularly supervisors/managers, 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.

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.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.  

This update was prepared by Charles S. Elbert.