EEOC FY2020 Statistics Released: Data Shows Fewer Charges Were Filed While Monetary Recoveries Surged
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently released its enforcement and litigation statistics for FY2020. In summary, the EEOC’s data shows that there were 67,448 charges of discrimination filed in FY2020, which represents 5,227 fewer charges that were filed in FY2019. Of those charges, retaliation continues to be the most frequently cited claim -- accounting for 55.85 percent of all charges filed in FY2020. Disability and color discrimination claims increased marginally while genetic information claims doubled from the prior year. The remaining categories all saw marginal decreases. The following is a breakdown of claims filed in FY2020 (some charges allege multiple categories, which make the percentages add up to more than 100 percent):
- Retaliation: 37,632 claims (55.8 percent of charges filed)
- Disability: 24,324 (36.1 percent of charges filed)
- Race: 22,064 (32.7 percent of charges filed)
- Sex: 21,398 (31.7 percent of charges filed)
- Age: 14,183 (21.0 percent of charges filed)
- National Origin: 6,377 (9.5 percent of charges filed)
- Color: 3,562 (5.35 percent of charges filed)
- Religion: 2,404 (3.6 percent of charges filed)
- Equal Pay Act: 980 (1.5 percent of charges filed)
- Genetic Information: 440 (0.7 percent of charges filed)
The data further shows that the EEOC resolved 70,804 charges in FY2020 and increased its merit factor resolution rate to 17.4 percent from 15.6 percent the prior year. Merit resolutions refers to charges that are resolved in the agency’s administrative process (pre-litigation) in favor of the individual who filed the charge. In addition, the agency responded to over 470,000 calls to its toll-free number and more than 187,000 inquiries in field offices, including 122,775 inquiries through the online intake and appointment scheduling system.
As it relates to litigation data, the EEOC resolved 165 merits lawsuits and filed 93 lawsuits in FY2020. Similarly, the EEOC’s recovery on behalf of charging parties and other aggrieved individuals through litigation significantly increased from $39.1 million in FY2019 to $106 million in FY2020, which represents the largest recovery in the past 16 years.
The data also shows that the EEOC secured $439.2 million for private sector claimants, including approximately $332.2 million through mediation, conciliation and settlements of charges and $106 million through litigation, which is sharp increase from the $385 million secured for claimants in FY2019.
Based on the EEOC’s FY2020 data -- specifically the increase in retaliation claims and the surge in monetary recoveries -- employers need to be on the top of their game now more than ever. Not only should employers have carefully crafted policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation in place, but they should also should make certain that those policies are consistently enforced in the workplace. Likewise, employers should take steps to train management on how to handle internal reports of discrimination and/or harassment.