EEOC Data Reveals 2017 as a Year of Discrimination

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its 2017 data on enforcement and litigation detailing the top 10 most frequently filed charges for the fiscal year. According to the numbers, over 84,000 workplace discrimination charges were filed with the agency during fiscal year 2017, and nearly $4 million was secured for victims. This includes victims in the private sector and workers subject to discrimination in state and local government workplaces.

Coming in at the top of the data list, for the seventh consecutive year, are workplace retaliation claims totaling 48.8 percent of all charges filed, followed by discrimination based on race (33.9 percent), disability (31.9 percent), and sex (30.4 percent). The agency received 6,696 sexual harassment charges and obtained $46.3 million in monetary benefits for victims of sexual harassment. The top three states with the highest percentages of charges filed in the continental U.S. are Texas (10.5 percent), Florida (8.1 percent), and California (6.4 percent).

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. These laws protect employees and applicants against employment discrimination when it involves any of the following:

  • Unfair treatment because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.
  • Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in the workplace because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.
  • Denial of a reasonable workplace accommodation that the employee needs because of religious beliefs or disability.
  • Retaliation because the employee complained about job discrimination or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

In light of the #MeToo movement and the continuing trend in EEOC claims, employers should re-evaluate and revise their workplace discrimination policies to ensure compliance with all applicable federal (and state) discrimination laws so they, too, don’t become an EEOC statistic.

About Samantha Yurman, JD

Samantha Yurman is one of ThinkHR’s legal editors. She is a licensed attorney in California and Florida with over 10 years of experience researching and analyzing human resources legislation and law. Samantha uses her expertise to translate highly technical legal topics into usable information for our clients.

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