The EEOC recently disclosed its fiscal year 2015 performance report. The report is a good reminder to employers of the issues that they may likely face EEOC scrutiny. Here are five key statistics employers should pay attention to:
1. EEOC obtained more than $525 million in discrimination suits.
Of this amount, the parties settled disputes for $356.6 million, and obtained $65.3 million through litigation.
2. “Systemic” discrimination investigations and litigation.
The EEOC resolved 268 “systemic investigations” of discrimination claims prior to litigation, resulting in more than $33.5 million in settlements. Systemic discrimination is defined by the EEOC as discrimination that “involves a pattern or practice, policy, or class case where the alleged discrimination has a broad impact on an industry, profession, company or geographic area.” Some examples of “systemic” discrimination provided by the EEOC are discriminatory barriers in recruitment and hiring, discriminatory restricted access to management trainee programs and to high level jobs, and exclusion of qualified women from traditionally male dominated fields of work. A list of recent cases provided on the EEOC’s website illustrates some examples: Outback Steakhouse settles $19 million suit for sex bias claims by women in a “glass ceiling” suit; Albertson’s settles $8.9 million suit alleging job bias based on race, color, and national origin.
The agency did not disclose how much it obtained in litigation, but it disclosed that it resolved 26 systemic cases. Six of those included at least 50 plaintiffs, and 13 that included at least 20 plaintiffs.
3. EEOC’s training programs.
The agency claims to have reached 336,855 people through providing 3,700 educational, training and outreach evetns. The agency’s Training Institute trained over 12,000 people at 140 events that “focused on the agency’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) priorities, including small businesses, vulnerable workers, underserved geographic areas and communities….”
4. Number of charges filed with EEOC remained relatively unchanged from 2014.
The EEOC received 89,385 in FY 2015. This is slightly up from the 88,778 charges received by the agency in FY 2014. This is down from the number of charges filed in 2013 (93,727 charges).
In 2015, the agency resolved 44% of its conciliations, which are mediations conducted by the EEOC to resolve employment disputes.
5. EEOC litigation efforts.
The agency filed 142 lawsuits alleging discrimination for FY 2015. Of the lawsuits, 100 were individual lawsuits and 42 were cases “involving multiple victims or discriminatory policies (versus discriminatory treatment), of which 16 were systemic suits.” During 2015, the agency resolved 155 lawsuits alleging discrimination, and has 218 active cases. Of these active cases, 48 (22%) alleged systemic discrimination and 40 (18%) were “multiple-victim cases.”
California employers must remember that the EEOC is a federal agency responsible for enforcing Federal discrimination laws. California employers also need to comply with California discrimination laws, which are enforced through California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Wage complaints are handled through the federal Department of Labor or California’s Labor Commissioner.