Employers, The EEOC Is Watching

By: Amy Epstein Gluck

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is making some lists and checking them twice, that’s for sure.

Piggybacking on my law partner Rich Cohen’s post about the annual breakdown of the 2019 enforcement and litigation data compiled by the EEOC, the EEOC just promulgated another report—its Annual Performance Report (APR).

In the APR, the EEOC reveals that it resolved 173 lawsuits on their merits and obtained $39.1M as a result. They won 95% of the time. In fact, in total, the EEOC secured more than $486 million and other relief for victims of employment discrimination in the private sector and in state and local government workplaces through mediation, conciliation, and settlements.

That’s…a lot of money.

The EEOC has been busy, clearly, dealing with all of those retaliation charges, as Rich told you about here, as well as claims based on disability, race, sex (including sexual harassment and equal pay charges), age, national origin, color, and religion. The agency states that its main goal is to combat and prevent “unlawful employment discrimination and advance equal opportunity for all in the workplace.”

In his post, Rich wondered if the decrease in charges filed with the EEOC over the last few years is a function of a decreasing faith in federal administrative agencies, or a decreasing federal workforce, or employees turning to the ever more active state administrative agencies and relying on ever more expansive state anti-discrimination laws.

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According to the APR, the answer to the decrease is simple: the EEOC has been more efficient. It boasts that staff has reduced the inventory of pending private sector charges by 12.1% – to only 43,580 charges – the lowest in 13 years, as evidence of prompt and efficient handling of charges. Another reason is the success of its mediation program, which has achieved 6,394 successful mediations and achieved a satisfaction rate of 96.8% for the EEOC’s private sector mediation program.

In fact, you may not know this but our own Eric Meyer is a volunteer mediator for the EEOC! Yes, really!

The “mission” of the EEOC is different from its vision. While prevention of unlawful discrimination is the goal, the EEOC’s “vision” is simply stated as:

Respectful and inclusive workplaces with equal employment opportunity for all.

A utopian workplace indeed!

 

 

Amy Epstein Gluck

Amy Epstein Gluck

Amy Epstein Gluck has represented individuals and corporate clients in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and various federal district courts for more than twenty years. Ms. Epstein Gluck’s current practice areas include employment law—advising on and drafting employment agreements; handling employment negotiations, severance agreements, noncompete and nondisclosure agreements, “wrongful terminations” and other EEO matters; representation at the EEOC level; advising employers about discrimination laws and how to remain in compliance, and employment negotiations.