EEOC FY 2019 Enforcement Data Shows Continuing Decrease in Overall Charges

Author: Robert S. Teachout, XpertHR Legal Editor

January 29, 2020

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released new data of Fiscal Year 2019 claims showing a decrease in overall workplace discrimination charges compared to FY 2018 data. This marks the third year in a row that filings have decreased. The enforcement and litigation statistics for FY 2019, which ended Sept. 30, 2019, also include detailed breakdowns by type of charges and by state.

The agency received 72,675 charges in FY 2019, a 5 percent drop from the 76,418 charges received in FY 2018. FY 2018 data had shown a 9.5 percent drop from the prior year.

As in previous years, retaliation continued to be the charge filed most often (53.8 percent), with disability a distant second (33.4 percent). The top five discrimination claims in FY 2019 were:

  • Retaliation: 39,110 (53.8%);
  • Disability: 24,238 (33.4%);
  • Race: 23,976 (33%);
  • Sex: 23,532 (32.4%); and
  • Age: 15,573 (21.4%).

The EEOC data also indicates that the impact of the #MeToo movement continues to be felt. Although sexual harassment claims fell slightly to 7,514 from 7,609 in FY 2018 (the first full year of #MeToo), they still are significantly higher than the 6,696 charges filed in 2017 when the #MeToo movement began. At the same time, the monetary value of the EEOC's sexual harassment settlements has increased steadily to $68.2 million last year, up from $56.2 million in FY 2018. In FY 2017, the settlement value was only $46.3 million.

Although the EEOC has increased it enforcement efforts for age discrimination, those efforts are not yet reflected in the charge data, which shows a 9 percent decrease in claims (15,573) from the prior year. This continues a sharp and steady decline in cases since 2008, when there were 24,582 claims filed. Settlement values for age discrimination also continued to decline to $75.7 in FY 2019, a 1.6 percent drop from last year and a 23.5 percent drop from the record-high $99.1 million in 2015.