2018 EEOC Workplace Discrimination and Settlement Updates

Original date: January 21, 2019

Many of our organizations will be conducting sexual harassment trainings with our workforce and board of directors.  As we all know, this training is mandatory in New York State and other states throughout the country.  The EEOC released some statistics towards the end of 2018, which we as leaders should be aware of.

Below are highlights of the 2018 EEOC workplace discrimination and settlement numbers:

  1. “The increased demand is reflected in over 554,000 calls and emails to the EEOC and more than 200,000 inquiries concerning potential discrimination claims. The launch of a nationwide online inquiry and appointment system as part of the EEOC’s Public Portal resulted in a 30 percent increase in inquiries and over 40,000 intake interviews.”[i]
  2. “Over 67,860 individuals benefitted from the EEOC’s resolutions of charges, cases, and federal employees’ complaints and appeals in Fiscal Year 2018.
  3. The EEOC secured $505 million for victims of discrimination in private, state and local government, and federal workplaces, including:
    1. $354 million through mediation, conciliation, and settlements;
    2. $53.5 million through litigation; and
    3. $98.6 million for federal employees and applicants in hearings and appeals.
  4. The EEOC reached more than 398,650 individuals nationwide in 3,926 outreach events with information about employment discrimination and their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.
  5. The EEOC resolved 141 lawsuits and filed 199 lawsuits on behalf of individuals alleging discrimination and filed 29 amicus curiae briefs in significant employment discrimination cases across the country.
  6. The EEOC tackled many operational challenges head on this past year, including the pending inventory of private sector charges, which has been a longstanding issue for the EEOC and the public it serves. The EEOC made progress in reducing the following backlogs:
    1. Resolved 90,558 private and public sector charges, reducing its backlog by 19.5 percent to 49,607 charges — the lowest inventory in more than ten years.
    2. Increased resolutions of federal sector hearing requests by 30.4 percent, totaling 8,662 resolutions, reducing the backlog by 8.5 percent, and secured $85 million for federal employees.
    3. Reduced the federal sector appellate inventory by 19.4 percent to 2,942 at the end of 2018. The EEOC resolved 4,320 appeals of agency decisions, including 85 percent of appeals that were more than 500 days old, and secured $13.6 million in remedies.”[ii]
  1. “EEOC wins jury verdict against Favorite Farms for sexual harassment and retaliation. Farmworker sexually assaulted by supervisor, then retaliated against by company, EEOC charged in a lawsuit. Federal jury awards $850k in compensatory and punitive damages.”[iii]
  2. “Draper Development to pay $80k to settle EEOC sexual harassment suit. Former general manager at Subway franchise owned and operated by Draper sent text messages to 17-year-old female applicants offering jobs in exchange for sex.”[iv]
  3. “The Cato Corp. to pay $3.5M to resolve an EEOC nationwide systemic investigation. The retailer of women’s fashions and accessories denied reasonable accommodations to certain pregnant and disabled employees.”[v]
  4. “Family Healthcare Network to pay $1.75M to settle EEOC suit. The California-based company, operator of more than 20 health care sites, is accused of using rigid leave policies to deny reasonable accommodations to pregnant and/or disabled employees.”[vi]

What You Should Know: EEOC Leads the Way in Preventing Workplace Harassment

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Yes, the EEOC numbers are on social media as well.  The EEOC Twitter account also communicate ways in which to file a claim, directly with the social media world.  Remember, these numbers are federal numbers only, they do not include state or local lawsuits/settlements.  As we are training our managers, supervisors and boards of directors, we should be communicating these numbers to ensure they know the impact an EEOC claim can and will have on an organization.  I have trained hundreds of managers, supervisors and employees on sexual harassment, harassment, retaliation, bullying, hostile work environment, etc.  The more transparent and direct we are in our approach with the training the more evolved our culture becomes and organizations will be.  Communicate expectations and hold everyone accountable.  If you are unclear on where to begin, seek guidance on setting up a thorough and effective training solution for your organization.  Reference back to my article on January 14, 2019.

– Matthew Burr, HR Consultant

[i] https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/11-9-18.cfm

[ii] https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/2018_highlights.cfm

[iii] EEOC Tweet, December 21, 2018

[iv] EEOC Tweet, December 11, 2018

[v] EEOC Tweet, December 11, 2018

[vi] EEOC Tweet, December 11, 2018

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