EEOC 2015 Statistic Update: Claim Values on the Rise

Author: Kyle Pederson

“Retaliation” continues to be the leading charge of workplace discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to the EEOC’s recently released report analyzing the 2015 fiscal year. Out of more than 92,000 charges, the EEOC reports Retaliation claims being the most commonly filed and accounting for 44.5 percent of all charges. The report summarizes the 2015 fiscal year and includes the other charges consisting of Race (34.7%), Disability (30.2%), Sex (29.5%), Age (22.5%), and National Origin (10.6%) following Retaliation.
In comparison, the 2014 fiscal year enumerated the following percentages: Retaliation (42.8%), Race (35%), Sex (29.3%), Disability (28.6%), Age (23.2%), National Origin (10.8%).

Overall, there were no significant changes in the percentages as to claims filed. However, noticeable increases from the previous fiscal year included both Retaliation and Disability claims, which increased by approximately 2 percent each.

Monetary recovery sharply increased in almost all claim areas from the 2014 fiscal year. Harassment claim recovery increased from $93.9 million in 2014 to $125.5 million in 2015. Within that subgroup, Sexual harassment recoveries increased from $35 million in 2014 to $46 million in 2015. Charges involving race harassment increased from $23.3 million in 2014 to $30.7 million.

Retaliation claim recoveries increased from $140.5 million in 2014 to $173.5 million. Also, Age discrimination claim recovery increased from $77.7 million in 2014 to $99.1 million.

In order to reach more of the working public who could be experiencing workplace discrimination in some way, shape, or form, the EEOC has launched several initiatives including a task force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace. The task force aims to study different types of harassment in the workplace and how to strengthen prevention.

In 2016, employers should keep an eye on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) requirements. GINA was enacted in 2008 with the goal of prohibiting health plans and health insurers from denying coverage to healthy individuals based solely on genetic predispositions. However, GINA also bars employers form using genetic information in decisions involving hiring, firing, job placement or promotions. While the amount of GINA claims with the EEOC decreased from 333 in 2014 to 257 in 2015, the monetary benefits recovered increased from $800,000 to $1.1 million. On average, the value of GINA claims are increasing.

Ultimately, while the amount of EEOC claims has remained stagnant, the value of the claims has increased. As the value of each claim increases, so does the potential impact on a business where the alleged conduct occurred. The EEOC will continue to remove barriers on behalf of employees and obtain relief for those discriminated against. Employers not only need to continue taking measures to prevent the more traditional types of discrimination but also need to be proactive in preventing perhaps the lesser known types of discrimination, such as genetic information.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kyle Pederson’s primary focus at Tyson & Mendes is personal injury, professional liability, and employment litigation. Contact Kyle at 858.263.4122 or kpederson@tysonmendes.com.

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