The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for investigating claims of employment discrimination and enforcing the laws that make discrimination illegal in the United States. It is illegal to discriminate against an employee based on their race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, orientation, and pregnancy), age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. EEOC regulations apply to workplaces with at least 15 employees and most labor unions and employment agencies. Discrimination is unlawful in all aspects of employment including training, hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, wages and benefits. The law also bars retaliation against an employee who files a charge of discrimination, participates in an investigation of employment discrimination, or complains about discrimination.
Top Discrimination Claims
In 2016 the EEOC was busy settling 97,443 claims of employment discrimination that took place in every workplace setting from federal, state and local, to the private sector. On behalf of discrimination victims, $482 million was recovered in damages.
The top three charges investigated by the EEOC in fiscal year 2016 were employer retaliation, racial bias, and disability discrimination. These were followed by sex, age and national origin claims. The last four in the top ten categories of discrimination were religion, color, Equal Pay Act claims, and genetic information non-discrimination act cases.
Overall in fiscal year 2016, the EEOC filed 86 lawsuits on behalf of victims of discrimination and resolved 139 lawsuits. Of these, 31 lawsuits were filed on behalf of multiple victims, and 55 were on behalf of individuals. Of the $482 million recovered, $347.9 million was achieved through mediation, conciliation, and settlement for victims in the state and local government, and private sector. Federal employees received $82 million in damages, and $52.2 million had to be litigated by the EEOC.
Whenever possible, the EEOC strives to prevent discrimination before it happens through education and outreach programs. It also has a mediation program to try to resolve disputes without litigation, saving time and resources for all the parties involved. The mediation program reports a 76% success rate.
The EEOC has only been collecting data on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) discrimination charges for the last four years. The agency reports a steady upward trend during that time. From fiscal year 2013 to fiscal year 2016, there were 4,000 charges of employment sex discrimination in the LGBT community for which the EEOC was able to recover $10.8 million for victims. In fiscal year 2016 alone the EEOC reported 1,650 filed charges on behalf of LGBT workers and $10.8 million in damages recovered.
South Jersey Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Victims of Job Discrimination
Discrimination can take many forms and none of them are legal. If you have suffered discrimination in your place of work you are urged to consult with an experienced South Jersey employment lawyer from Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Our practice focuses exclusively on employment law and can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Call us today at 215-569-1999 or complete an online contact form. Our offices are conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia, serving clients throughout Pennsylvania and South Jersey.