Year-End Roundup of EEOC Developments - Part I

As 2010 comes to a close and employers continue to deal with an emboldened EEOC, there are various noteworthy EEOC developments to consider, including both agency and court developments. The first of this two-part series on the EEOC’s year-end review includes highlights from the EEOC's Annual Report, particularly focusing on the increased number of EEOC charges and time targets for investigating discrimination charges and a summary of recent EEOC litigation, including the types of lawsuits being filed and the primary jurisdictions recently involved.

EEOC Charges and EEOC Time Targets

On November 23, 2010, the EEOC announced the publication of the FY 2010 Performance and Accountability Report ("EEOC Annual Report"). As discussed in the Annual Report, this past fiscal year the EEOC received a record number of EEOC charges - a total of 99,922 charges, which was the highest number of charges in its 45-year history, with a 7% increase in charge activity since FY 2009. Since FY 2006, there has been a dramatic increase in the level of charge activity, except for a minor dip in FY 2009, as shown by the following:

Fiscal Year Number of Charges
2006 75,768
2007 82,792
2008 95,402
2009 93,277
2010 99,922


It also is anticipated that the EEOC will place continued pressure on employers to timely respond to charges of discrimination. Based on performance standards placed on the EEOC for FY 2010 (which ended on Sept. 30), the EEOC was expected to resolve 48% of its charges within 180 days. As of the end of FY 2010, the Commission had processed 38.3% of its charges in 180 days or less, which obviously was significantly below its target. Employers should anticipate that EEOC investigators will have greater pressure placed on them by the District Directors during the coming year in hitting the 180-day target, which means that the EEOC may not be particularly receptive to granting extensions in the initial response to a charge as well as giving very short timelines in any supplemental requests for information.

EEOC Litigation

According to the EEOC Annual Report, the field legal units filed 250 merit lawsuits in FY 2010, which included 159 individual suits and 92 multiple-victim suits. The Report noted that, among these filings, 192 contained Title VII claims, 40 contained ADA claims, 28 contained ADEA claims, and 2 contained EPA claims.

Particularly noteworthy is that a substantial number of EEOC lawsuits were filed in the last 2 months of the EEOC's fiscal year. Between August 1, 2010 and September 30, 2010, the EEOC filed approximately 200 lawsuits. Among these cases, over 60 cases involved multi-victim cases. The geographical spread of these cases also is noteworthy. The top states for EEOC lawsuit filings during this period were as follows: 

State Number of Lawsuits
Texas 26
California 20
North Carolina 16
Georgia 14
Arizona 13
Illinois 12
Maryland 9
Tennessee 9
Wisconsin 8
Michigan 7


Stay tuned for Part II of this EEOC roundup, which will focus on recent EEOC case developments.

Photo credit: Jostaphot

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.