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By: Brenton S. Bean
The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has released its 2020 enforcement statistics. These statistics are important because they show trends in the types of claims being brought by employees, as well as those which the EEOC chooses for enforcement action. In summary, the statistics indicate that while claims are down, the amount spent by employers to resolve these claims is up considerably.
The data shows the number of charges declined in 2020 to 67,448 charges, down from 72,675 in 2019. However, the amount of the average recovery to resolve each charge rose 11.4%. Additionally, the amount of recovery in merit lawsuits brought by the EEOC rose considerably from $39.1 M to 106.1 M.
As in 2019, claims of retaliation remain the most frequently asserted, accounting for nearly 56% of all charges submitted. Second among the types of charges submitted were claims of disability discrimination at 36.1 %.
Knowing that retaliation claims are the most frequently filed charge is important for employers in not only fashioning their workplace policies and procedures, but also in implementing training to avoid such claims. Retaliation occurs, generally speaking, when the employee engages in some type of protected activity, after which the employer takes adverse employment action against the employee. The employee has to show the adverse action would not have occurred but for the protected activity. Employers’ procedures for investigating workplace claims of discrimination or harassment, along with their policies for documenting not only those investigations but also employee discipline, are keys to defending and defeating retaliation claims.
If you have any questions about workplace training, handbooks and developing compliant policies and procedures, please contact Brent Bean at [email protected].