February 26, 2021

1 + 1 = 11th Consecutive Year Retaliation Tops the List

On February 26th, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published its fiscal year enforcement and litigation data.  Rewind to 2010, when workplace retaliation charges outnumbered race-based charges for the first time: 36.3% to 35.9%. Every year since, retaliation-based charges have increased and retained the status of being the #1 basis of all charges filed. Last fiscal year, they comprised 55.8% of all charges filed.

Disability-based charges have also been surging to the top, surpassing race-based charges the last two fiscal years, currently holding their own at 36.10%.

Despite the “Me-too” movement, sex-based charges mark 4th place for the second, consecutive year, followed by age-based charges in 5th place.

What does this mean for employers? Watch the landscape! Know what the hot topics are. While all forms of unlawful harassment should be prevented and corrected, knowing what’s trending can help you keep a watchful eye on issues more likely to disrupt your workplace. Provide training that includes specific examples of some of these trending issues. What is/not retaliation? What is/not a disability? Perhaps, more importantly, what are your company’s resources for more information and how do you protect employees from harassment, discrimination, and retaliation?

Protect yourself and your company.

  1. Many employment laws provide for individual liability. Make sure your managers and supervisors know where they may stand if they engage in any unlawful conduct e.g., all alone with their pockets turned inside out.
  2. Charges and claims of discrimination and harassment can be costly: in terms of time as well as money. In the last fiscal year, the EEOC recovered just over $106 million for charging parties and other aggrieved individuals through litigation, representing the largest recovery through the EEOC’s litigation program in the past 16 years. If your company does not already have Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI), talk to your current liability insurance carrier for a quote.

Want more information, trends, and tips? Check out the archived webcast that aired March 24th for “Non-Discrimination & Harassment Prevention,” 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. ET.  $25 per person.