The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released its annual statistical report detailing charge filing activity in 2014. The EEOC, the federal administrative agency which investigates and prosecutes claims of employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation under a number of employment and civil rights statutes, reported 88,778 charges filed in 2014, down from 93,727 charges filed in 2013. This reduction in the number of charges filed is generally attributed to better economic conditions and lower unemployment than in the recessionary period between 2008 and 2012, when nearly 100,000 charges were filed each year.
Some interesting additional information can be gleaned from the data released by the EEOC. Of the nearly 89,000 charges filed in 2014, nearly 60 percent alleged race and/or sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, almost a quarter alleged age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and close to 30 percent alleged a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Because charges often include allegations of discrimination or harassment on more than one basis, these percentages add up to more than 100%.) Also, nearly 38,000 of charges filed – 42.8 percent of all charges – included an allegation of retaliation, continuing a trend that started in 2007, prior to which retaliation claims were included in less than 30 percent of all charges. Texas, Florida, and California saw the greatest number of charges filed – these three states collectively accounted for one quarter of all charges filed in 2014.
The EEOC’s report also discloses that in 2014, the agency filed 167 lawsuits against employers. Although more than 2013, when it filed only 148 lawsuits, 2014 once again saw significantly less litigation activity from the EEOC than in the years prior to 2012 (between 2000 and 2011, the EEOC consistently filed 300 or more lawsuits, with a peak of 421 lawsuits filed in 2004). The vast majority of these cases were resolved, with the EEOC claiming monetary recoveries totaling $22.5 million.