Job Bias Charges Approach Record High In Fiscal Year 2009

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that 93,277 workplace discrimination charges were filed with the federal agency nationwide during Fiscal Year (FY) 2009, the second highest level ever, and monetary relief obtained for victims totaled over $376 million. The comprehensive enforcement and litigation statistics for FY 2009, which ended Sept. 30, 2009, are posted on the agency’s web site at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/index.cfm.
 
Discrimination based on disability, religion and/or national origin hit record highs. The number of charges alleging age-based discrimination reached the second-highest level ever. Continuing a decade-long trend, the most frequently filed charges with the EEOC in FY 2009 were charges alleging discrimination based on race (36%), retaliation (36%), and sex-based discrimination (30%). Multiple types of discrimination may be alleged in a single charge filing.
 
The near-historic level of total discrimination charge filings may be due to multiple factors, including greater accessibility of the EEOC to the public, economic conditions, increased diversity and demographic shifts in the labor force, employees’ greater awareness of their rights under the law, and changes to the agency’s intake practices that cut down on the steps needed for an individual to file a charge.

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