According to this EEOC press release, discrimination charges filed with the EEOC increased by 9% in 2007. The 82,792 private sector discrimination charges filed last year was the highest volume of incoming charges since 2002 and the largest annual increase since the early 1990s.
Race was the most frequently filed claim, with retaliation a close second and having the greatest percentage increase:
|Basis of Charge Filing||2007||2006||Percentage Increase/Historical Comparison|
|RACE||30,510||27,238||Up 12% to highest level since 1994|
|RETALIATION||26,663||22,555||Up 18% to record high level, double since 1992|
|SEX/GENDER||24,826||23,247||Up 7% to highest level since 2002|
|AGE||19,103||16,548||Up 15%, largest annual increase since 2002|
|DISABILITY||17,734||15,575||Up 14% to highest level since 1998|
|NATIONAL ORIGIN||9,369||8,327||Up 12%, above 9,000 for second time ever|
|RELIGION||2,880||2,541||Up 13% to record high level, double since 1992|
EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp believes that companies' failures in combating workplace discrimination explains these numbers: "Corporate America needs to do a better job of proactively preventing discrimination and addressing complaints promptly and effectively. To ensure that equality of opportunity becomes a reality in the 21st century workplace, employers need to place a premium on fostering inclusive and discrimination-free work environments for all individuals."
Ms. Earp's statement would be more telling if the EEOC also released data on the percentage of charges on which the EEOC found probable cause as compared to how many were dismissed. This increase is much more likely the result of the economic downtown and more job losses, instead of companies avoiding their EEO responsibilities.