Thursday, April 11, 2019

The three things you need to know from the EEOC's 2018 charge data

Yesterday, the EEOC released its charge statistics for 2018. There are three big things you need to know.

  1. Charges are way down. In 2018, the EEOC processed 76,418 charges, a 9.3% decrease from 2017, a 16.5% decrease from 2016, and a 23.5% decrease from the commission's high-water mark in 2010. Typically, charge filings track the strength (or weakness) of our economy. Unemployment remains a record low numbers, which likely explains the low number of charge filings. Indeed, filings haven't been this low since 2006.

  2. #MeToo matters, a lot. The EEOC received 7,609 sexual harassment charges, which represents a 13.6% increase from 2017. Thus, while charges are down overall, they are way up for sexual harassment claims. What does this mean for you? That #MeToo has had a huge impact on your employees. Victims are less likely to stay quiet and are more likely to report. If you're not doing everything you can to ferret out and stop sexual harassment, you are putting your company at risk. What does everything mean? Review and update your harassment policy, train your employees, foster an anti-harassment environment, take all harassment complaints seriously and investigate everything, take prompt corrective action to reasonably ensure that harassment stops.

  3. Retaliation remains king. As has been the case for the past 10 years, retaliation is the most popular claim, and it's not even close. For 2018, 51.4% of all charges contained a retaliation claim (nearly 20% higher than the next closest—a three-way tie among sex, race, and disability). Thus, employers must be extra vigilant to ensure that employees, supervisors, and managers are not exacting revenge against those who engage in workplace protect activity. Because the EEOC and the courts are watching.