Top 10 Employment Discrimination Claims

February 5, 2015

While charges of employment discrimination against employers are declining overall, claims alleging retaliation against an employee for involvement in a complaint reached a record high in fiscal year 2014.

According to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) review of the charges it receives, the percentage alleging retaliation reached its highest amount ever: 42.8 percent.

The percentage of charges alleging race discrimination, the second most common allegation, has remained steady at approximately 35 percent.

The EEOC released fiscal year 2014 private sector data tables providing detailed breakdowns for the 88,778 charges of workplace discrimination the agency received. The fiscal year ran from Oct. 1, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2014.

The following are the top 10 categories of charges filed with the EEOC:

  1. Retaliation under all statutes: 37,955 (42.8 percent of all charges filed);
  2. Race (including racial harassment): 31,073 (35 percent);
  3. Sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment): 26,027 (29.3 percent);
  4. Disability: 25,369 (28.6 percent);
  5. Age: 20,588 (23.2 percent);
  6. National Origin: 9,579 (10.8 percent);
  7. Religion: 3,549 (4.0 percent);
  8. Color: 2,756 (3.1 percent);
  9. Equal Pay Act: 938 (1.1 percent) but note that sex-based wage discrimination can also be charged under Title VII’s sex discrimination provision;
  10. Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act: 333 (0.4 percent).

The percentages add up to more than 100 because some charges allege multiple bases, such as discrimination on the bases of race and color, or sex and retaliation.

The greatest number of charges were filed in Texas (8,035), followed by Florida (7,528) and California (6,363). The EOC’s updated tables include charges by state.

In fiscal year 2014, 30 percent of the charges filed with the EEOC alleged the issue of harassment on various bases, such as race harassment or harassment on the basis of disability.

Discharge continues to be the most common issue for all bases under Title VII (which bars job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Allegations of harassment for all bases were the next most frequently cited issue, with the exception of race. For the basis of race, discriminatory terms and conditions of employment was the second most frequently cited issue (9,332), with harassment being the third (9,023).

The agency said the number of charges filed decreased compared with recent fiscal years, due in part to the government shutdown during the reporting period. While filings were down overall compared to the previous fiscal year, first quarter charge filings–which included the period of the shutdown–were 3,000 to 5,000 less than the other quarters.

In fiscal year 2014, the EEOC reports it obtained $296.1 million in total monetary relief through its enforcement program prior to the filing of litigation.

The number of lawsuits on the merits filed by the EEOC’s general counsel throughout the nation was 133, up slightly from the previous two fiscal years. A lawsuit on the merits involves an allegation of discrimination, compared with procedural lawsuits, which are filed mostly to enforce subpoenas or for preliminary relief. Monetary relief from cases litigated, including settlements, totaled $22.5 million.

Source: EEOC

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