Legal

Workplace Discrimination Charges Set Record

By Staff Report

Jan. 12, 2011

A record 99,922 private-sector workplace discrimination charges were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during fiscal 2010, the agency said on Jan. 11.


The number of charges filed in fiscal 2010, which ended Sept. 30, was more than the 95,402 record set in fiscal 2008 and was 7.1 percent higher than fiscal 2009, the EEOC said.


All major categories of charges increased.


For the first time, retaliation charges filed under all statutes surpassed race as the most frequently filed charge and comprised 36.3 percent of the total. The 36,258 retaliation charges increased 7.9 percent over the previous year.


Some 35,890 race-related charges were filed, which was 35.9 percent of the total and a 6.9 percent increase over the previous year.


Other charge categories, and their percentage of the total filed, were: sex, 29.1 percent; disability, 25.2 percent; age, 23.3 percent; national origin, 11.3 percent; religion 3.8 percent; Equal Pay Act, 2 percent; and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, 0.2 percent.


The EEOC published final regulations to implement Title II of GINA, which prohibits using genetic information in making employment decisions, in the Federal Register in November.


The EEOC said the surge in charges may be because of several factors, including economic conditions, increased diversity and demographic shifts in the labor force, employees’ greater awareness of the law, improvements in the EEOC’s intake practices and consumer service, and greater accessibility to the public.


The EEOC also said it ended fiscal 2010 with 86,338 pending charges, an increase of less than 1 percent over the previous year.  


Filed by Judy Greenwald of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.


 


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