The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says fiscal year 2015 was its best enforcement year ever, resulting in more than $525 million for “victims of discrimination in private, state and local government, and federal workplaces.” Of the $525 million, $421.9 million went to charging parties─$356.6 million through mediation, conciliation, and settlements, $65.3 million through litigation. The remaining $105.7 million went to federal employees and applicants.
The total recovery made it a record year for the EEOC, according to the agency’s annual “Performance and Accountability Report” published last month. The EEOC’s Chair, Jenny R. Yang, called it a “pivotal moment to renew [the EEOC’s] national commitment to combating discrimination.”
The report sheds light on some interesting EEOC stats. In FY 2015, the EEOC received 89,385 charges of discrimination, a very slight increase from FY 2014’s 88,778 charges. The number for FY 2015─while still very high─is down by more than 10,000 charges from the recent high of 99,947 received in FY 2011.
The EEOC mediated about one out of every nine charges in FY 2015. About 78% of the EEOC’s 10,579 mediations were successful, which resulted in more than $157.4 million to charging parties.
If the EEOC charge resulted in conciliation proceedings, the EEOC was successful 44% of the time in private-sector charges. This number is up from 27% in FY 2010.
For some of the unsuccessful conciliations, the EEOC filed 142 lawsuits during the fiscal year. Of those, 100 were individual suits, 26 non-systemic suits involving multiple plaintiffs, and 16 systemic suits. Most of these lawsuits pursued claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII. At the end of FY 2015, the EEOC had 218 active cases in the United States’ district courts.
The EEOC resolved 155 lawsuits in FY 2015, recovering a total of $65.3 million. Of that amount, $56.9 million came from Title VII claims. The EEOC says it achieved a “favorable resolution” in 89.3% of its cases at the district court level in FY 2015.
The EEOC’s record FY 2015 certainly suggests that the EEOC will not be curtailing its litigation efforts and that employers can perhaps expect an emboldened agency next year.