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EEOC Issues FY 2021 Performance Report

By Alex Gonzalez - Apr 19, 2022 6:30:00 AM - 6 MINS READ

Report shows a steady decline in discrimination charge receipts yet an increase in pending charge inventory 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its fiscal year (FY) 2021 Annual Performance Report (APR). The APR published the FY 2021 charge filings which show a decrease in charge receipts and an increase in pending charge inventory, due to low staffing levels. In FY 2020, the charge intake was 67,448 and reduced to 61,331 in FY 2021. EEOC resolved an increased percentage of charges with outcomes favorable to the charging party, with 19.2% of such resolutions in FY 2021 compared to 17.4% in FY 2020. They also secured over $350.7 million in monetary relief for individuals during the administrative process and obtained equitable relief in 92.6% of all conciliation agreements.

According to the APR, the EEOC had 12 performance measures set and met or exceeded 10 of them. In FY 2021, the EEOC focused on the following broad areas:

  • Addressing systemic discrimination in all forms and on all bases,
  • Promoting racial justice,
  • Preventing and remedying discrimination in pay,
  • Addressing the civil rights impact of the pandemic, and
  • Strengthening and rebuilding the agency to ensure it had the resources necessary to effectively enforce the law.

Addressing Systemic Discrimination

Resolved 342 systemic investigations on the merits and obtained more than $24.4 million in monetary benefits for victims of discrimination. In these cases, resolutions also included equitable relief to change employment practices, prevent future discrimination, and bring employers into compliance. Settled 26 systemic lawsuits and obtained over $22.7 million for 1,671 individuals and significant equitable relief. Filed thirteen new systemic lawsuits relating to disability, sex-based hiring practices, harassment based on sex and pregnancy, race and national origin-based discharge and age-based layoffs.

Advancing Racial Justice

Resolved 21 lawsuits alleging race or national origin discrimination and garnered approximately $15 million in monetary relief benefiting 798 individuals. Filed nine systemic or class cases alleging race discrimination, along with 14 individual cases alleging race or national origin discrimination.

Preventing Discrimination in Pay

Settled a systemic investigation based on race discrimination related to wages for over $200,000. Successfully resolved 10 compensation discrimination lawsuits obtaining approximately $1 million benefiting 51 people. Filed five lawsuits alleging compensation discrimination and conducted 124 outreach sessions related to equal pay.

Civil Rights Impact of the Pandemic

Held the first-ever Commission virtual public hearing exploring workplace civil rights implications of the COVID-19 pandemic with over 2,000 individuals in attendance. Developed numerous resources to assist employers and employees related to pandemic issues. Conducted 313 outreach events related to COVID-19 reaching 39,827 individuals. Approved a resolution condemning the violence, harassment, and other acts of bias against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Processed 3,631 charges alleging COVID-19 related discrimination and filed three lawsuits on similar issues.

Rebuilding the Agency

Filled 450 open positions bringing the year-end total to 2,100 employees. Conducted two-week intensive training sessions for 143 newly hired investigators. Delivered a series of four training sessions for enforcement staff on identifying, investigating, and conciliating systemic discrimination. Provided training on the relationship between COVID-19 and employment discrimination laws.

FY 2021 Charge Receipts

During FY 2021 EEOC received 61,332 charges of discrimination. Fifty-six percent of the charges included a retaliation claim and 21,270 (34.7%) included a harassment claim. The charge receipts have steadily declined over the years from 91,503 in FY 2016; 84,254 in FY 2017; 76,418 in FY 2018; 72,675 in FY 2019; and 67,448 in FY 2020. However, charges based on color discrimination and sexual orientation, and transgender status have increased.

The following represents the charge receipts by type of discrimination. [Enforcement and Litigation Statistics]

  • Disability – 37.2%
  • Race – 34.1%
  • Sex – 30.6%
  • Age – 21.1%
  • National Origin – 10.1%
  • Color – 5.7%
  • Religion – 3.4%
  • Equal Pay – 1.4%
  • Genetic Information – 0.4%

Lightbulb Take

 

OutSolve’s Take

 

If we only saw a decline in charge receipts during the past fiscal year, we would easily be able to explain it on the pandemic, with fewer workers on-site giving way to fewer opportunities for employees to feel discriminated against. However, it is hard to explain the steady decline in charges, especially with all the outreach efforts conducted by EEOC.

Those employers who have received an EEOC, or state agency charge know that it is a time-consuming, all-encompassing process that could easily lead to financial payoffs or even legal actions. Therefore, do not take the lower charge rate as comforting or rest on your laurels. It is imperative to take all allegations of discrimination and/or harassment seriously and to conduct an immediate investigation that is fully documented with actionable outcomes.

We believe that the EEOC and OFCCP will work in tandem as the Biden Administration focuses its resources and efforts on pay equity. The EEOC continues to increase its staffing levels. OFCCP has also requested an additional $41M in the FY2023 budget to increase staffing. Some of this funding will be used to support the cross-regional approach to conducting multi-establishment compliance reviews as defined in OFCCP’s Directive 2022-02, see OutSolve's Blog on Directive 2022-02. The overall strategy is to identify cases of systemic discrimination, including compensation. Employers and federal contractors should be proactively assessing their pay systems and address any issues that are uncovered to reduce their risks and liabilities from potential litigation and/or financial penalties.

OutSolve will continue to monitor the agencies’ actions and provide more information as it becomes available. Organizations who would like additional information on OutSolve’s Pay Equity Analysis, or other compliance services, contact us at info@outsolve.com or 888-414-2410.

 

Alex Gonzalez

Alex Gonzalez recently joined OutSolve as VP of Product and Market Development. Alex will be working with the team to expand OutSolve’s offerings for clients and bring greater opportunities for growth and development to OutSolve. He has spent more than 30 years leading hundreds of clients in various industries in preparing affirmative action programs and diversity programs, implementing software solutions, and managing strategic product roadmaps.

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