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EEOC Obtained Nearly $400 Million In FY 2017 Discrimination Cases

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently announced its results for fiscal year 2017, and the agency says it won $398 million nationwide in compensation for victims of discrimination. The agency also says it reduced its charge workload to its lowest level in a decade. FY 2017 ended on Sept. 30.

"Over the past year, the EEOC has remained steadfast in its commitment to its core values and mission: to vigorously enforce our nation's civil rights laws," said the agency's acting chair. "The results for the last fiscal year demonstrate exactly that."

The EEOC enforces a wide variety of our nation's workplace anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, the Equal Pay Act and others.

Retaliation was the most common charge filed, followed by race and disability claims

Complainants from the private sector and state and local government agencies filed 84,254 discrimination charges in FY 2017. Some complaints contained multiple bases for a charge. Here are the bases for those charges, in descending order:

  • Retaliation - 48.8 percent
  • Race - 33.9 percent
  • Disability - 31.9 percent
  • Sex - 30.4 percent
  • Age - 21.8 percent
  • National origin - 9.8 percent
  • Religion - 4.1 percent
  • Color - 3.8 percent
  • Equal pay violations - 1.2 percent
  • Genetic information - 0.2 percent

Retaliation against employees who make good faith discrimination complaints is prohibited by the anti-discrimination statutes. It includes any adverse job action, including firing, demotion, reduction in pay or duties, transfer to less attractive duties and other actions.

The agency also received 6,696 charges of sexual harassment in FY 2017. It secured $46.3 million for sexual harassment victims.

Over the same period, the EEOC filed 184 merits lawsuits. These included 124 individual lawsuits, 30 that involved multiple victims, and 30 involving systemic discrimination. Including these 184 merit suits and previously unresolved suits, the agency had 242 cases on its active docket as of Sept. 30.

The EEOC works to resolve discrimination charges and lawsuits through an administrative enforcement process, conciliation with employers and litigation. In FY 2017, it was successful in 90.8 percent of its lawsuit resolutions.

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