Retaliation and Disability Charges are on the Rise, According to EEOC Litigation and Charge Statistics for FY 2015

The number of charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is once again climbing, according to newly released litigation and enforcement statistics for FY 2015. During the past fiscal year, 89,385 charges were filed with the agency, up slightly from the 88,778 charges filed the previous year. The largest number of charges filed with the agency since FY 1997—the first year the agency started compiling such data—is 99,947 charges filed in FY 2011.  Charge numbers had steadily declined since that time until this year.

The agency's litigation and enforcement statistics provide insight into the types of discrimination claims employees are filing, as well as where the Commission is focusing its resources. For FY 2015:

  • 44.5% (39,757 out of 89,385) of the claims filed involved allegations of employer retaliation.
  • Retaliation claims stemming only from alleged Title VII violations amounted to 35.7% (31,893) of all claims filed. A similar number of charges alleging race discrimination (31,027, or 34.7%) were filed during this time.
  • Notably, claims of disability discrimination reached a record high this past year. A total of 26,968 such claims were filed, representing 30.2% of total charges.

As for the agency's litigation record, the EEOC filed 142 merits lawsuits in FY 2015. Most of these lawsuits (83) involved Title VII claims. Fifty-three lawsuits were brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act; 14 lawsuits involved multiple statutes; and another 14 were brought under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The number of subpoena enforcement actions (32) remained relatively steady, down only slightly from the 34 filed in FY 2014.

Of the 142 lawsuits, 42 involved multiple claimants. This is in keeping with the agency's focus on systemic discrimination, which the EEOC defines as discrimination involving "a pattern or practice, policy, or class case where the alleged discrimination has a broad impact on an industry, profession, company or geographic area."

The Commission also reports it resolved 171 actions, including 155 merits lawsuits, during this period. With respect to discrimination charges, the agency's statistics show it resolved 92,641 charges in FY 2015. In total, the agency was able to secure more than $356 million through voluntary resolutions (mediation, conciliation, and settlements), and other $65.3 million for charging parties through litigation.

For a more detailed discussion of the EEOC's charges, litigation, and regulatory developments, see Littler's Annual Report of EEOC Developments: Fiscal Year 2015.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.