EEOC Retaliation, Disability Charges Up Over Last Year

Author: Rena Pirsos, XpertHR Legal Editor

February 17, 2016

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed 5% more retaliation charges against private-sector employers in fiscal year 2015 than the year before, according to a new report.

With numbers like that, it is no coincidence the EEOC is currently seeking public comment on proposed updates to its manual for processing and investigating charges, making cause determinations and considering litigation relating to retaliation.

The report also shows that disability charges, which comprised 30% of all private sector charges filed, increased by 6%. This was the third largest category of charges.

Multiple bases may be claimed on a particular charge, such as allegations of both sex discrimination and retaliation. After retaliation and disability, the most prevalent charges filed included:

  • Race (accounting for 35% of the total charges, or about 31,000 charges);
  • Sex, including pregnancy and sexual harassment (representing 30% of the total charges, or about 26,000 charges); and
  • Age (representing 23% of the total charges, or about 20,000 charges).

Charges under the Equal Pay Act accounted for approximately 1% of the total number of charges (or about 1,000 charges).

The report further states that harassment, including charges based on race, age, disability, religion, national origin and sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity) represented nearly 28,000 charges, or 31% of all charges. The EEOC views harassment as a "national priority" and aims to prevent it "through systemic enforcement and targeted outreach." To that end, the agency launched the Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace in March 2015, which is tasked with examining the various forms of workplace harassment and identifying and promoting strategies to prevent it.