EEOC Charges on the Rise

January 25, 2011, 11:34 AM

According to a recent report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Charges of Discrimination rose to record levels during the EEOC's most recently completed fiscal year (period ending September 30, 2010). Total charges soared to 99,922 during that period, an increase of 7.2% over the previous fiscal year and the highest level of new charges ever recorded by the EEOC.

The largest increase was seen among charges filed for disability discrimination. Recent changes to ADA regulations, making it easier for individuals to satisfy the definition of disability, likely contributed to this increase. Retaliation charges continue to outpace all other types of charges, making up just over 36% of total charges filed with the EEOC.

With the sluggish economy and high unemployment rates continuing into 2011, employers should expect these trends to continue. Avoid being part of the next year's numbers by reviewing your discipline and discharge procedures, particularly your documentation processes. Consistent application of legitimate policies and thorough documentation greatly decrease your potential for liability. --David J. Sullivan