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January 20, 2012

Annual Report on EEOC Developments – Fiscal Year 2011

Authors: Barry Hartstein, Greg Coulter, Sue Douglas, Shanthi Gaur, Jacquelyn Meirick, Marcy McGovern, Brandon Mita, Terrence Murphy, Peter Petesch, and Ilyse Schuman
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Over the past fiscal year, Littler has monitored various developments related to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Specifically, we have monitored EEOC lawsuits, subpoena enforcement actions, EEOC settlements, regulatory developments and related activities and court opinions in which the EEOC has been a party.

Based on our monitoring efforts and the collective knowledge of attorneys who frequently handle EEOC-related matters, we are pleased to provide this inaugural edition of Littler's Annual Report on EEOC Developments – Fiscal Year 2011.

Part One of this Report provides an overview of EEOC charge activity, litigation and settlements over the past year, including highlighting the types and location of lawsuits filed by the EEOC over the past fiscal year. As anticipated, there has been a continued focus on systemic and multiple victim lawsuits. Significant settlements and jury trial verdicts also are highlighted.

In Part Two, key regulatory developments are reviewed, including the EEOC's activities beyond formal regulatory efforts, as well as areas in which the EEOC plans to focus its efforts during the coming year.

Part Three highlights key court cases addressing a number of topics, including:

  • The permitted scope of EEOC investigations, particularly involving potential systemic discrimination, and noteworthy subpoena enforcement actions;
  • Significant pleading issues that have arisen in lawsuits filed by the EEOC;
  • Recent developments involving the limitations period applicable to individuals on whose behalf the EEOC may seek relief in pattern or practice litigation;
  • Conciliation efforts and cases in which courts have challenged EEOC actions based on the Commission's failure to engage in good faith conciliation;
  • Recent cases addressing discovery, including favorable rulings involving discovery requests served on the EEOC and requests for depositions of EEOC personnel, and reviewing a recent trend by the courts to treat the EEOC in a manner similar to other plaintiffs in EEO litigation;
  • Noteworthy summary judgment rulings in EEOC litigation, particularly focusing on pattern or practice litigation; and
  • Rulings in which courts have awarded attorneys’ fees and costs to employers that have prevailed in actions initiated by the EEOC.

To read the Littler Report, please click here.