The EEOC has released its annual report on the number of discrimination charges filed across the country. As has been seen over the last few years, the total number of charges continued to decline –72,675 in 2019 as opposed to 76,418 in 2018. While sex and race continue to be popular choices for charges, the largest category is retaliation. The reason for this strong showing may be that people are including it as additional grounds in charges focused on some other protected category. Disability discrimination continues to be the subject of a large amount of charges, but even those slightly decreased in 2019. The smallest category continues to be the Equal Pay Act.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
The continued reduction in charges does not necessarily mean that there has been an overall reduction in employees who think they are being discriminated against. Nor should it give any employer reason to loosen its rules on preventing discriminatory acts occurring in the workplace. It is interesting that although the EEOC has made major changes to make it easier for an employee to file a charge (primarily that it can now be done online), the total number is declining. It would be fascinating to see if major employers’ statistics reflect a drop-off in internal discrimination complaints to match the trend in the EEOC stats.