The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today announced that nationwide private-sector workplace-discrimination charge filings with the federal agency hit an unprecedented level of 99,922 during fiscal year 2010, which ended Sept. 30, 2010. Despite the increase in overall charges filed with the EEOC last fiscal year, the commission dramatically slowed the growth of the charge inventory. As a result, the federal agency ended FY 2010 with 86,338 pending charges, an increase of only 570 charges, or less than 1 percent. Between fiscal years 2008 and 2009, the EEOC's pending inventory increased 15.9 percent.
"We are pleased to see that our rebuilding efforts are having an impact on how efficiently and effectively the commission enforces the civil rights laws protecting the nation's workers," said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. "Discrimination continues to be a substantial problem for too many job seekers and workers, and we must continue to build our capacity to enforce the laws that ensure that workplaces are free of unlawful bias." The surge in charge filings may be due to multiple factors, including economic conditions, increased diversity and demographic shifts in the labor force, employees' greater awareness of the law, improvements in the EEOC's intake practices and customer service, and greater accessibility to the public.
We're not surprised by the surge, given the political and social climate, but we find it interesting that the number of complaints about retaliation have surpassed those regarding discrimination. More people are being retaliated against for raising issues in the workplace that could be tied to a number of factors. Is it safe to surmise that workplace discrimination and retaliation reflect the climate of hate and bullying in our country? If so, what are we going to do about it?
Read more at the EEOC.