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Charge Statistics for Discrimination and Harassment Show Unsettling Trend

It feels like not a day goes by when a new high-profile story of discrimination is published in the news. For example, it was recently reported that ESPN is being hit with a lawsuit for discrimination and sexual harassment by a former employee. Adrienne Lawrence, a former legal analyst for the network, claims her complaints about unwelcome sexual advances resulted in her not being granted a full-time position.

With all of the recent claims of discrimination and sexual harassment making the news, one might expect recent numbers of charge filings with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to be more than previous years. Surprisingly, that is not the case. In fact, the numbers over the past 20 years are consistent.

A Review of Charge Statistics between 1997 and 2017  

The EEOC maintains the statistics for total number of individual charge filings. Because individuals often file charges claiming multiple types of discrimination, EEOC maintains statistics on total charges as well as charges by discrimination type (e.g., sex, etc.). Below we will take a look at some of the numbers. It™s important to note that these numbers do not take into consideration charges filed with the state or local Fair Employment Practices Agencies:

  • 2011 was the year with the most total number of charges: 99,947. For 2017, there were 84,254 total charges filed. 2005 was the year with the least number of total charges coming in at 75,428.
  • Race, Sex and Retaliation are generally the three types of discrimination with the most filings each year. For example, in 2017:  there were a total number of 28,528 individual filings for Race, 25,528 for Sex, and 41,097 for Retaliation.
  • In 1997, the total number of charges was 80,860; number of individual filings for Race was 29,199; Sex 24,728; and Retaliation 18,198.

See the complete list here: Charge Statistics (Charges filed with EEOC) FY 1997 Through FY 2017 .

What do these numbers tell us?

Preventing discrimination and harassment requires our attention. One of the main aspects of anti-discrimination laws includes workplace harassment, which means employers have a responsibility to promote equal opportunity in the workplace. This starts with implementing the right policy for their workplace, making sure that everyone understands the policy and that it is enforced in their organization. It is equally important for employers to establish a process for resolving complaints of discrimination that do arise. Healthcare Compliance Pros highly recommends training the entire workforce. And to help organizations with training efforts we have a Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace module that is available in our course library. If you would like information about accessing this module, contact us today: [email protected] or 855-427-0427.

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