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EEOC discrimination charges fall to lowest level since 2006, but 14% increase in sexual harassment charges

April 12, 2019

Workers in the US filed the fewest workplace discrimination charges in more than a decade in the federal fiscal year ended Sept. 30, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported. The agency received 76,418 charges in fiscal year 2018, down 9.3% from the previous year and the lowest number since 2006.

Charges of retaliation were the most numerous at 39,469 and comprised 51.6% of all charges, according to the EEOC. Sex discrimination charges ranked as the second-most common with 24,655 and 32.2% of charges. Disability discrimination and race discrimination charges followed, each with about 24,600 charges and each comprising 32.2% of all charges.

Percentages add up to more than 100 because some claims allege multiple bases.

The agency also reported it received 7,609 sexual harassment charges in the wake of the #MeToo movement — a 13.6% increase from fiscal year 2017 — and obtained $56.6 million in monetary benefits for victims of sexual harassment.

The EEOC resolved 90,558 charges of discrimination and secured $505 million overall for victims in private sector, state and local government, and federal workplaces. The agency reduced the charge workload by 19.5% to 49,607, which it attributed to prioritizing charges with merit; quickly resolving investigations; and improving the agency’s digital systems.

EEOC legal staff filed 199 merits lawsuits alleging discrimination in fiscal year 2018 including 117 individual lawsuits, 45 lawsuits involving multiple victims or discriminatory policies, and 37 systemic discrimination cases. At the end of the fiscal year, the EEOC had 302 cases on its active docket.

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