Workplace Discrimination Charges Reach Unprecedented Level

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently reported that a record number of private sector workplace discrimination claims were filed during fiscal year 2010.  Accordingly, the employment law defense attorneys of Whelchel, Dunlap, Jarrard & Walker, LLP, are notifying our business clients that they may face increased discrimination claims in 2011.
 
According to the EEOC, charges alleging discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”) rose in fiscal year 2010.  Interestingly, retaliation claims surpassed race claims for the first time ever and became the most commonly filed charge.   Furthermore, the EEOC’s involvement in these matters resulted in $404 million in monetary benefits from employers, the largest amount ever obtained through the EEOC’s administrative process.
 
Though this may seem like an ominous indicator for employers in 2011, with this knowledge, employers can take proactive steps to mitigate potential discrimination charges they may face.  For instance, employers may want to document all dealings with their employees after an employee files a charge with the EEOC, in anticipation of the employee filing a claim of retaliation against the employer.  Additionally, as workplace discrimination charges increase, now may be the time for employers to review and revise their workplace policies.
 
If your company is facing workplace discrimination claims or if you have any questions regarding other employment related matters, the attorneys to contact at this firm are Madeline S. Wirt or Emily C. Bagwell.
 
This bulletin provides a general summary of recent legal developments. It is not intended to be and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
 
For further information see:
 
http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/1-11-11.cfm
 
http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/index.cfm
 
http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/charges.cfm

Article written by Associate Attorney, James M. Wright