The EEOC released its 2018 charge statistics earlier this week. Here are three key pieces of information to consider:
- Charge filings have decreased. In 2018, the EEOC processed 76,418 charges, which represents more than a 9% decrease from 2017, a nearly 17% decrease from 2016, and a 23.5% decreased from the all-time high year of charge filings in 2010 (99,922 charges). Because charge filings tend to flow with the relative strength of the economy, this decrease is not surprising. Unemployment statistics remain extremely low which helps explain this very low number of charge filings (the lowest since 2006).
- Not surprisingly, #MeToo has impacted the number of sexual harassment charges, with a nearly 18% increase in such filings from 2017. Overall, EEOC charges are down, but sexual harassment charges are way up. Victims are becoming more emboldened and are more likely to report. Make sure your policies and complaint procedure are refined. Ensure workplace harassment training is conducted for all employees. Be sure your managers and supervisors are on alert and do not engage in behavior that places your organization at risk. Whenever a complaint is received, investigate promptly and thoroughly. Take necessary action to stop harassment.
- Ten years running, retaliation remains the most popular charge of discrimination filed, by a significantly large margin. For 2018, retaliation charges comprised more than 51% of all charges filed, which is almost 20% more than the next closest categories of race, sex and disability, which are in a 3-way tie. Employers need to be highly sensitive and vigilant about ensuring employees, managers and supervisors are not engaging in retaliatory tactics against those who have engaged in protected activity. Remember, the underlying good faith complaint of harassment need not be validated or founded in order for the employee’s claim of retaliation for filing that underlying complaint to be successful.