Workplace Discrimination Trends

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is the Federal Agency responsible for handling initial charges of discrimination for claims involving race, gender, sexual harassment, religion, age and disability.   Within its enforcement role, the EEOC tracks the number and type of charges filed on annual basis, providing some insight into the prevalence of various claims in the employment landscape.

Overall the number of charges in 2012 has remained relatively steady since 2010 at approximately 99,000 per year.   Over the long term, this figure is up 18% from a total of 84,000 complaints in 2002.

By category, retaliation and disability claims have shown the greatest increases over a 10 year span and as a percentage of claims filed.   Retaliation claims arise when an individual suffers an adverse action because of their objection to discriminatory behavior or in response to their participation in the EEOC process.   Since 2002, retaliation complaints have increased by 50%, now comprising 38.1% of all charges.  During the same period ADA-disability complaints have increased by 65%, now comprising 26.5% of all charges.   (Note that some individual charges claim discrimination on a multiple basis).