The sometimes agonizingly slow Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is trying to be more efficient. According to the latest Agency Financial Report, in fiscal year 2019 the EEOC reduced the level of pending private sector charges to its lowest number in 13 years. Specifically, the number of pending private sector charges in fiscal year 2019 decreased by 12.1 percent, to 43,580.
Fiscal year 2019 continued a recent trend of declining numbers of pending charges. As recently as 2014 and 2015, there were more than 75,000 charges pending in each of those years. 2016 saw a small decline, but that decline accelerated in the years to follow. The number of charges dropped to 61,621 in 2017, then to 49,607 in 2018, and now to 43,580 in 2019.
According to EEOC Chair Janet Dhillon, the decrease was the result of the EEOC’s focus on “inventory reduction strategies,” “priority charge handling procedures,” technological enhancements, and “hiring of front-line staff.” The good economy in recent years has also likely contributed to the decline in the charge numbers.
Some other fiscal year 2019 highlights from the report included:
- The EEOC collected more than $486 million for “victims of discrimination.” Of the $486 million, the EEOC collected $346.6 million through mediation, conciliation, and settlements from employers in the private sector and state and local governments, $39.1 million through litigation, and $100.6 million for federal employees and applicants.
- In the mediation program, the EEOC successfully mediated 6,394 charges. The private sector mediation program garnered a satisfaction rate of 96.8%, representing the percent of participants who would use the process again.
- Interestingly, the rate employers chose to participate in the EEOC’s mediation program increased to 30.7% (from 27.6% in fiscal year 2018).
- The EEOC filed 144 lawsuits. Of those 144 lawsuits, 100 suits were on behalf of individuals, 27 were non-systemic suits with multiple victims, and 17 were systemic suits involving multiple victims or discriminatory policies.