A Review of the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) in 2013
One of the best ways that employers can know what liability risks they are most likely to encounter in any given year is to review what an agency was targeting in the previous year and to review the agency’s work plan. I recently reviewed some 2013 statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) that are worth sharing:
The EEOC resolved 209 merits lawsuits in federal district courts last year. Of these resolutions, 135 contained Title VII claims, 59 contained Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims, 16 contained Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) claims, four contained Equal Pay Act (EPA) claims, and one contained Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) claims.
Thirteen EEOC cases made it to trial. Eleven of these trials were heard before juries. The EEOC was victorious in nine of the 11 jury trials, resolved one by consent decree, and lost the remaining bench trial.
In the case, EEOC v. Hill Country Farms, Inc. (S.D. Iowa), a jury found that a company had subjected 32 intellectually disabled men to verbal and physical harassment, harsh living conditions, and other abuses for 2 years. In this case, the EEOC obtained the largest award in its history – over $240 million.
The Commission just launched the Systemic Watch List, a software application designed to coordinate the investigation of multiple charges filed against the same employer involving similar issues. As designed, when a new charge is filed that matches another ongoing investigation or lawsuit, the program issues an automatic alert to staff working on the case.
To say that the EEOC was busy in 2013 is an understatement. Perhaps the most impressive statistic is this: despite a furlough and hiring freeze due to the sequester, the EEOC still brought in more money in 2013 for aggrieved workers (about $372 million) than in any other year in the agency’s history. So, what are the EEOC’s priorities this year? Check back on Wednesday for some more information about what we can expect from the Commission.