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EEOC sees fewer charges overall, but more retaliation allegations

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Retaliation charges filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in fiscal year 2012 continued to increase, even as the total number of charges filed with the agency declined slightly, the agency said Monday.

The total number of charges filed in fiscal year 2012, which ended Sept. 30, was 99,412, a 0.5% decrease from fiscal year 2011. Retaliation charges, though, which again topped the list, increased by 1.3%, to 37,836. There was a 3% increase in retaliation charges in fiscal 2011, to 37,334 charges.

Retaliation charges were followed by race charges, which totaled 33,151, and sex charges, which includes allegation of sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination, at 30,356. In fiscal 2012, the second and third highest charges were sex discrimination followed by disability discrimination charges.

The EEOC said it also achieved a significant reduction in its charge inventory for the second straight year, reducing the number of pending cases in the private sector by 10% for fiscal year 2011, and bringing the number of pending cases to 70,312.

The agency also obtained the largest amount of monetary recovery from private sector and state and local government employers through its administrative process, at $365.4 million, it said.

The EEOC filed 122 lawsuits in fiscal year 2012, including 86 individual suits and 26 multiple-victim suits, which it defines as suits with fewer than 20 victims, and 10 systemic suits.

The agency said it also continued its emphasis on eliminating systemic patterns of discrimination in the workplace, completing 240 system investigations in fiscal year 2012, which in part resulted in 46 settlements or conciliation agreements. The agency also filed 12 systemic lawsuits in 2012.

Commenting on the report, EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien said in a statement: “These remarkable achievements are a credit to the commitment of the EEOC's staff and the product of strategic and efficient investment of critical budget resources in recent years.

“We look forward to building on these accomplishments and further advancing the agency's mission as we implement our new Strategic Enforcement Plan in the coming year.”

Copies of the data are available at the EEOC’s website.