Discrimination charges investigated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reached a record high in 2010, and 2011 is expected to outpace last year, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek article.

In fiscal year 2010, there were 99,922 charges of discrimination, according to the article.  Of those, 20,149 ended in "merit resolutions," meaning that the outcomes of those cases were favorable to the employees.  Retaliation was the most common charge filed.

It looks like fiscal 2011 could be another record-breaking year.  Charges so far this year are ahead of last year's.  

So why the surge in discrimination charges? The article provides a few theories. One is that, because the economy is still unstable, employees who would normally just quit their jobs and go elsewhere are instead opting to file an EEOC charge. But the economy can have the opposite effect, making people reluctant to file a claim out of fear of losing their jobs in retaliation. The surge could simply be due to more people being aware of their rights.

Whatever the reason, it looks like employers need to be especially careful, so you may want to put your clients on alert!

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

Views: 18

Tags: Compliance, Legal

Comment by Valentino Martinez on August 23, 2011 at 12:24am

Employers paid over $300 million in 2010 and look to pay more in 2011.  Discrimination is alive and well in America with Texas & California leading the charge.

The cost for discrimination hits on many levels with business & personal seeing the most damage.  Besides the reasons for the surge mentioned in the article--I've long observed that discrimination happens when...

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