The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported that it a record number of discrimination charges in FY 2009, the second-highest number in its history. Race and sex discrimination continued to be the most frequently filed, but religion, disability and retaliation claims all reached new highs. EEOC investigates and enforces claims of discrimination under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
Notable statistics relating to resolved claims (those resolved via settlement, withdrawal, and conciliation), include:
- EEOC resolved 85,980 charges.
- Resolved charges resulted in $294.2 million in relief for claimants.
- Total relief represented a $20 million increase over FY 2008.
Notable statistics relating to “merit” lawsuits (suits filed by EEOC against employers who refuse to comply with information requests or who allegedly breach settlement agreements), include:
- EEOC filed or intervened in only 281 “merit” lawsuits
- This is the lowest number of new merit cases for a fiscal year since 1997, according to the EEOC’s online statistics, and is down from a high of 438 merit cases in 1999.
- EEOC resolved 321 “merit” cases, for a total of $82.1 million, a decrease of about $20 million from FY 2008.
The Delaware Department of Labor (“DDOL”) handles most discrimination charges filed against Delaware employers. The DDOL and EEOC have a work-sharing arrangement. The DDOL has a mediation program for newly filed charges in which employers can participate before filing a substantive response to the charge. Mediation can result in a low-cost settlement with a minimum of disruption and negative publicity. Neither the DDOL nor EEOC publicizes settlements reached during the administrative process–another reason to consider settlement at this stage of the dispute. Employers who are curious about the types of cases that the EEOC likes to file can review its press release page, where it publishes, on a daily basis, news releases about cases it has filed and settled.