The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently announced that it obtained the largest amount of monetary recovery from employers through its administrative process. The total recovery for fiscal year 2012 was $365.4 million.
For New York and New Jersey employers, the message is simple—The EEOC shows no signs of slowing down its enforcement activity. Therefore, it is imperative to have the proper employment policies and procedures in place.
According to the EEOC’s latest report, it received 99,412 private sector workplace discrimination charges during fiscal year 2012, which was a slight decrease from the prior year. The most frequently filed charges were retaliation (37,836), race (33,512) and sex discrimination (30,356), which includes allegations of sexual harassment and pregnancy.
For its part, the EEOC filed 122 lawsuits, including 86 individual suits, 26 multiple-victim suits (with fewer than 20 victims) and 10 systemic suits. The agency also noted that it completed 240 systemic investigations, which resulted in 46 settlements or conciliation agreements and $36.2 million in recoveries for discrimination victims.
Systemic discrimination remains a top priority going forward and should, therefore, be on employers’ radar. It is defined as a pattern or practice, policy, or class case where the alleged discrimination has a broad impact on an industry, profession, company or geographic area. The suits, brought by the EEOC, involve several plaintiffs and often address issues such as discriminatory barriers in recruitment and hiring; discriminatorily restricted access to management trainee programs and to high level jobs; and age discrimination in reductions in force and retirement benefits.
If you have any questions about the EEOC report or would like to discuss how to strengthen your company’s anti-discrimination policies and procedures, please contact me, Christina Michelson, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work.