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Employers Take Note: EEOC Reports Record Number of Complaints, Revenue Generated, and Cases Resolved in 2011

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 12/12/2011
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According to its annual Performance and Accountability Report, 2011 proved to be a record year… for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC’s fiscal year, which ended on September 30th, culminated with a record 99,947 charges of discrimination. This is the highest number of charges in the EEOC’s 46-year history. The $364.6 million in monetary benefits for victims of workplace discrimination, including $170 million from the private sector, also marks a record year for the EEOC.

Equally important is that the EEOC also finished fiscal year 2011 with a ten percent decrease in its pending charge inventory—the first such reduction since 2002. This accomplishment reflects the EEOC’s increased focus on enforcing various equal employment opportunity laws and collecting significant revenues from those organizations found to be in violation of such laws.

The EEOC is not only focusing on its enforcement obligations, but it is increasing its efforts and efficiency. This strategy is being described as a strong national systemic enforcement program. In response, employers must focus, or re-focus as the case may be, on their obligation to ensure compliance with all applicable employment-related laws.

Fortunately for employers, the way to defend against the EEOC’s increased enforcement activity is straightforward and effective. It demands that employers not only create and enforce a policy against discrimination and harassment, but also train their staff, managerial and non-managerial, to prevent, detect, and address any unlawful behavior.

The relative ease and cost-efficiency afforded by online training make it difficult to justify a lack of preventative measures, particularly in light of the significant financial risk revealed in the EEOC’s recent annual report. Predictably, those employers failing to counter the EEOC’s increased enforcement activity may soon find that their money has unwillingly been added to the EEOC’s tally for 2012.

If you would like more information about implementing an effective workforce-training program to avoid falling victim to the EEOC’s strengthened systemic enforcement program, please contact us.

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