EEOC Releases FY 2018 Enforcement Data

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On April 10, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released information relating to enforcement and litigation data for the fiscal year (FY) 2018. According to the EEOC’s press release, the agency received 76,418 charges of workplace discrimination in FY 2018 alone.
Based on the statistics provided, it’s clear the EEOC remains laser focused on its enforcement priorities including discrimination based on factors such as age and pregnancy, and sexual harassment and other harassment-related issues. For example, the agency received 7,609 sexual harassment charges and obtained $56.6 million in monetary benefits for victims.

As outlined in the press release, the agency had the following successes:
  • Resolved 90,558 charges of discrimination
  • Reduced the workload by 19.5% to 49,607
  • Handled numerous points of contact including: 519,000 calls, 34,600 emails and more than 200,000 inquiries in field offices
  • Secured $505 million for victims in the private sector, state and local government and federal workplaces
  • Filed 199 merits lawsuits alleging discrimination (included 117 individual suits, 45 suits involving multiple victims or discriminatory policies and 37 systemic discrimination cases)
  • Achieved a successful outcome in 95.7% of all district court resolutions
In looking at the “Statutes by Issue” statistics, there is no clear category for suits related to criminal and/or credit background checks. Instead, the EEOC generally pursues those cases under allegations such as race or national origin discrimination. With respect to allegations specific to those issues, race represented 32.2% of charges, national origin represented 9.3% and color represented 4.1%.
Again, it’s unclear how many of those charges related to criminal and/or credit background checks use but employers must remain cognizant of the fact that eliminating barriers in employment remains a top strategic priority for the EEOC. Despite the change in administration, the EEOC has remained active in investigating employers and reaching settlements related to criminal background checks in particular. Employers should continue to review their use of criminal background information in light of the EEOC’s 2012 guidance on the use of arrest and criminal records in employment decisions.

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