EEOC FY 2018 Data Shows Big Spike in Sexual Harassment Claims But Dip in Overall Charges

Author: Robert S. Teachout, XpertHR Legal Editor

April 17, 2019

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released its fiscal year 2018 claim data showing a drop in overall claims compared to FY 2017, but a significant increase in sexual harassment claims. Retaliation claims continued to be the charge filed most frequently.

The agency reported receiving 76,418 workplace discrimination charges in FY 2018, down from 84,254 charges filed the prior year. At the same time, the EEOC reported resolving 90,558 charges and reducing its charge backlog by 19.5 percent.

More than half of the charges (39,469) filed during 2018 were for retaliation, leading the next most frequently filed type of claim by more than 10,000 charges. The top five types of  charges filed in FY 2018 were:

  • Retaliation: 39,469 (51.6 percent)
  • Sex: 24,655 (32.3 percent)
  • Disability: 24,605 (32.2 percent)
  • Race: 24,600 (32.2 percent)
  • Age: 16,911 (22.1 percent)

The total percentage exceeds 100 percent because some charges alleged more than one type of discrimination.

Nearly one-third of the sex discrimination claims filed (7,609) were for sexual harassment - a 13.6 percent increase over the previous year. The EEOC also reported that it obtained $56.6 million in monetary benefits for sexual harassment victims.

The EEOC tied the increase in sexual harassment charges to the continued impact of the #MeToo movement. EEOC acting chair Victoria A. Lipnic said, "We cannot look back on last year without noting the significant impact of the #MeToo movement in the number of sexual harassment and retaliation charges filed with the agency."