It’s apparently a lot easier to prove a retaliation charge than a workplace bias or harassment claim. That’s probably why retaliation remains the No. 1 complaint filed with the EEOC.  

The agency released detailed breakdowns of the 89,385 charges of workplace discrimination that the agency received in fiscal year 2015. Retaliation charges increased by nearly 5% and continue to be the leading concern raised by workers across the country.

Disability charges increased by 6% from last year and are the third largest category of charges filed.

The fiscal year ran from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015. The year-end data shows that retaliation again was the most frequently filed charge of discrimination, with 39,757 charges, making up 45% of all private sector charges filed with EEOC.

And the feds have taken notice of the trend. The EEOC is currently seeking public input on its proposed update of enforcement guidance addressing retaliation and related issues as part of its ongoing enforcement efforts.

EEOC resolved 92,641 charges in FY 2015, and secured more than $525 million for victims of discrimination in private sector and state and local government workplaces through voluntary resolutions and litigation.

GINA makes a showing

The charge numbers breakdown:

  • Retaliation: 39,757 (44.5% of all charges filed)
  • Race: 31,027 (34.7%)
  • Disability: 26,968 (30.2%)
  • Sex: 26,396 (29.5%)
  • Age: 20,144 (22.5%)
  • National Origin: 9,438 (10.6%)
  • Religion: 3,502 (3.9%)
  • Color: 2,833 (3.2%)
  • Equal Pay Act: 973 (1.1%) , and
  • Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act: 257 (0.3%).

(Percentages add up to more than 100 because some charges allege multiple violations.)

Charges raising harassment allegations — which, the EEOC says, span industries and affect our nation’s most vulnerable workers — made up nearly 28,000 charges, or 31%. Here, too, the agency is making a move — it launched a Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace last March.

According to an EEOC press release, the agency filed 142 merits lawsuits last year, up from 133 the previous year. The majority of the lawsuits filed alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, followed by suits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This included 100 individual lawsuits and 42 lawsuits involving multiple victims of discriminatory policies, of which 16 were systemic. Legal staff resolved 155 lawsuits alleging discrimination.

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