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Retaliation Leading Cause of Workplace Discrimination Charges

In the last fiscal year, 84,254 workplace discrimination charges were filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced Jan. 25, 2018. Nearly half of the charges (48.8 percent) filed were for retaliation.

Under federal law, an employer may not fire, demote, harass or otherwise retaliate against an individual for filing a discrimination complaint, participating in discrimination proceedings or otherwise opposing discrimination. According to the EEOC, it is relatively common for an original discrimination allegation based on a claim other than retaliation to fail to establish a violation of the law, while a subsequent retaliation allegation often results in a discrimination finding.

Other charges filed in FY 2017 include:

  • Race: 28,528 (33.9 percent)
  • Disability: 26,838 (31.9 percent)
  • Sex: 25,605 (30.4 percent)
  • Age: 18,376 (21.8 percent)
  • National Origin: 8,299 (9.8 percent)
  • Religion: 3,436 (4.1 percent)
  • Color: 3,240 (3.8 percent)
  • Equal Pay Act: 996 (1.2 percent)
  • Genetic Information: 206 (.2 percent)

Charges filed by jurisdiction are posted on the agency’s website.

The EEOC reports it secured $398 million for claimants in the private sector and state and local government workplaces through voluntary resolutions and litigation. The agency resolved 99,109 charges and reduced the charge workload by 16.2 percent to 61,621 in FY 2017. Officials attributed the decline to prioritizing charges with merit, expediting and resolving investigations, and improving digital systems.

The EEOC handled more than 540,000 calls to its toll-free number and 155,000 inquiries in field offices.