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EEOC Announces Enforcement Statistics and Priorities

Lexology (01/30/12) Paul Monsees

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently released its latest enforcement statistics and issued a draft strategic plan highlighting a particular emphasis on pursuing systemic bias cases. The statistics reflect an increase in the number of employment discrimination charges received by the EEOC to 99,947, with retaliation the most frequently asserted complaint. The EEOC filed 300 lawsuits in fiscal year 2011, an increase of more than 10% over the prior year, but reduced the number of case filings from five years ago by more than 100.

In its draft Strategic Plan for 2012-16, EEOC announced that it will emphasize pursuit of systemic discrimination, which it describes as a “pattern or practice, policy and/or class cases where the alleged discrimination has a broad impact on an industry, profession, company, or geographic area.” EEOC statistics indicate that 23 systemic discrimination cases were filed in FY 2011 and that nearly 600 investigations were underway. Employers should continually examine their policies and practices to ensure that there is no disproportionate impact on any protected group.