EEOC released FY 2019 Enforcement data. Total charges filed were the lowest since at least 1997, which is the oldest published data. Retaliation charges still lead the pack at 53.8% of all charges filed. Last year charges on the basis of sex were the second most filed charges, this year disability charges edged them out for the second place, and race-based charges surpassed sex charges.
None of this is really surprising and consistent with what we have seen in our practice. Much speculation about the drop in charges, but I think more claims are being filed in state courts completely skipping federal claims, being sent directly to arbitration and denied equal access to justice and ultimately a constitutional right to a jury trial, and more cases are being resolved prior to filing EEOC charges. One less cynical could presume that there are simply fewer cases, but that has not been our experience. In fact, we have seen an uptick in discrimination claims, and worse, we have seen more egregious violations.
Specifically, the charge numbers show the following breakdowns by bases alleged, in descending order:
- Retaliation: 39,110 (53.8 percent of all charges filed)
- Disability: 24,238 (33.4 percent)
- Race: 23,976 (33.0 percent)
- Sex: 23,532 (32.4 percent)
- Age: 15,573 (21.4 percent)
- National Origin: 7,009 (9.6 percent)
- Color: 3,415 (4.7 percent)
- Religion: 2,725 (3.7 percent)
- Equal Pay Act: 1,117 (1.5 percent)
- Genetic Information: 209 (0.3 percent)