There’s no doubt that 2016 was a big year for news. The presidential race alone had to have triggered countless discussions around the water cooler. The Rio Olympics, the Orlando nightclub shooting and ISIS also were in the papers, on the TV news and online throughout much of the year.
But what about workplace discrimination? Discrimination claims may not have been at the top of your Facebook news feed, but they were happening everywhere. And, they remain as important and as impactful as ever before.
Each year, year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws, looks at the number of discrimination claims that were filed at its offices around the country. The EEOC then releases the information publicly. The figures for 2016 won’t be compiled and released until early next year, but a look at last year’s numbers shows us where the trends were heading back then.
The EEOC said it resolved 92,641 charges in fiscal year 2015, and obtained over $525 million in compensation for employees who were discriminated against in either the private sector and state and local government. Those claims were resolved through voluntary agreements and litigation.
According to an Insurance Journal article, retaliation was the most common discrimination claim, making up 45 percent of all charges filed with the EEOC by private sector employees.
The Insurance Journal listed the breakdown of EEOC charges filed in 2015. Here’s a look at the breakdown:
· 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%)
· Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act: 257 (0.3%)
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. EEOC lawyers resolved 155 lawsuits alleging discrimination.
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