FY 2007: EEOC Recovers $345 Million for Job Bias Victims

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as part of its recently released Fiscal Year 2007 enforcement and litigation statistics, reports that it recovered $345 million in monetary relief for victims and received a total of 82,792 private sector discrimination charge filings last fiscal year--the highest volume of incoming charges since 2002 and the largest annual increase (9 percent) since the early 1990s.

"Corporate America needs to do a better job of proactively preventing discrimination and addressing complaints promptly and effectively," said Commission Chair Naomi C. Earp. "To ensure that equality of opportunity becomes a reality in the 21st century workplace, employers need to place a premium on fostering inclusive and discrimination-free work environments for all individuals."

According to EEOC's data, allegations of discrimination based on race, retaliation, and sex were the most frequently filed charges, continuing a long-term trend.

Additionally, nearly all major charge categories showed double digit percentage increases from the prior year. EEOC says the jump in charge filings may be due to a combination of factors, including greater awareness of the law, changing economic conditions, and increased diversity and demographic shifts in the labor force.

Last year, for the first time, retaliation was the second highest charge category (behind race), surpassing sex-based charges in total filings with EEOC offices nationwide. Historically, race has been the most frequently filed charge since the EEOC became operational in 1965.

In addition to the statutory bases of discrimination, charges filed with the EEOC and state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies (combined) also trended upward for the high visibility issues of pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment.

Pregnancy charges surged to a record high level of 5,587, up 14 percent from the prior fiscal year's record of 4,901. Sexual harassment filings increased for the first time since FY 2000, numbering 12,510--up 4 percent from the prior fiscal year's total of 12,025. Additionally, a record 16 percent of sexual harassment charges were filed by men--up from 9 percent in the early 1990s.

The complete data is available online at www.eeoc.gov/stats/charges.html.

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