EEOC Reduces Backlog in FY 2019, Says New Report

Author: Robert S. Teachout, XpertHR Legal Editor

November 25, 2019

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a new report showing that the agency significantly reduced its case backlog in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. The results reported in the first Agency Financial Report (AFR), released November 19, were achieved despite the 2019 government shutdown and the lack of a quorum to act for much of the year.

The lack of a quorum between January 2 and May 15, 2019, and the 35-day government shutdown last winter resulted in a marked decline in filings compared to prior years, which impacted the EEOC's performance in all areas discussed by the AFR. The agency must have at least three commissioners to have a quorum and act. A quorum was restored when the Senate confirmed Janet Dhillon as EEOC chair in May.

Despite the shutdown and lack of a quorum, the AFR shows that the EEOC reduced its private sector charge workload by 12.1 percent - the lowest in 13 years. The agency also reduced its federal sector appellate inventory by 17.4 percent and the pending inventory of federal sector hearings by 5 percent.

In addition, the EEOC reported securing more than $486 million for workplace discrimination victims in FY 2019, a drop from the $505 million recovered in FY2018. The amount includes $346.6 million in monetary relief for employees and applicants through mediation, conciliation and other administrative enforcement, and $39.1 million in monetary relief through litigation.

In the area of litigation in FY 2019, the AFR reports that the EEOC resolved 173 merits lawsuits, with 95 percent favorable results in district court settlements, an increase of 32 resolutions over FY 2018. The EEOC also filed 144 lawsuits in FY 2019, including 100 suits on behalf of individuals, 17 systemic suits involving multiple victims or discriminatory policies and 27 non-systemic suits with multiple victims. According to the EEOC, systemic discrimination is when alleged discrimination involves a pattern or practice, policy or class case that has a broad impact in a company, profession or industry or region.

The AFR focuses on discussing performance results on a high level and on reporting financial results. Another new report, the Annual Performance Report (APR), will be published each February starting in 2020 in coordination with the EEOC's Congressional Budget Justification. The APR will report on the EEOC's progress achieving the agency's Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan goals and objectives. Together, the AFR and APR will replace the Performance Accountability Report that previously was published annually in November.