So What Has the EEOC Been Up to Lately? And, What is Their Game Plan for Next Year?

By: Christina M. Reger 
Hot off the presses, the EEOC published its fiscal year 2016 Performance Report. For a quick summary of the 104 page report, you can click on the press release, or just read this post. 
In a nutshell, the agency secured $482M for victims of discrimination. The good news, that number is down from the approximately $525M collected in FY 2015. 
 An increase in EEOC staff has resulted in the resolution of 97,443 claims; more than the number of actual complaints received last year. 
The agency received 585,000 calls to its toll free number and handled 160,000 pre-charge inquires. 
So what does all of this mean? A whole lot of people think to call the EEOC if they have an issue. 
In case you want to read the entire report, or are having trouble sleeping at night, you can find the complete report here
Want to know what the EEOC plans to do in the next few years? 
In its Strategic Enforcement Plan released last month, the EEOC summarizes six areas where it intends to focus its activities in the coming year….that is assuming President-elect Trump doesn’t have other plans. 
The six areas are: 
Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring; 
Protecting immigrant, migrant and other vulnerable workers; 
Addressing emerging and developing employment discrimination issues; 
Enforcing equal pay laws; 
Preserving access to the legal system; and 
Preventing harassment through systemic enforcement and targeted outreach. 
Notable updates from the last Plan include, 1) issues related to complex employment relationships in the 21st century workplace; and 2) backlash discrimination against those who are Muslim or Sikh, or persons of Arab, Middle Eastern or South Asian descent, as well as persons perceived to be members of these groups, as tragic events in the United States and abroad have increased the likelihood of discrimination against these communities. 
The Plan suggests that if you are an individual represented by an attorney with a harassment claim, best to go to court because you will not be on the EEOC’s agenda. But if you are a group of individuals complaining about (a) Americans with Disabilities Act coverage, including reasonable accommodations, qualification standards, or undue hardship; or (b) pregnancy accommodations; or c) LGBT rights, you may get asked to stay for dinner. 
So….. employers, the flip side of that observation is that if you have THAT employee, who is complaining about harassment, rather than seeing an EEOC charge in your mailbox, you may be handed a lawsuit filed in federal court. 

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