The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission secured more than $535 million to resolve workplace discrimination claims in fiscal 2020, the agency announced.

That includes $333.2 million in monetary relief for employees and applicants in the private sectors and state and local government workplaces through mediation, conciliation, and other administrative enforcement.

The EEOC also secured another $106 million in monetary relief through litigation, the highest amount the agency recovered via litigation since 2004.

The agency also secured $96.2 million in monetary relief for federal employees and job applicants, according to its fiscal year 2020 agency financial report.

The EEOC announced that it has reduced its private sector workload by 3.7% to 41,951, the lowest pending inventory in 14 years.

Claims Reduction

The agency said it was able to accomplish this by technological advancements, new digital systems, and hiring frontline staff.

“This builds on a 12.1% decrease in FY 2019,” the EEOC said in a release.

“At the same time, the agency increased the percentage of charges resolved with an outcome favorable to the charging party by nearly 2% to 17.4%.”

In addition, the EEOC successfully decreased the pending inventory of hearing receipts for the third straight year, a 15.7% reduction from 12,933 in fiscal 2019 to 10,905 in the 2020 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.

“Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the EEOC has continued to provide excellent service to the public and made progress toward fulfilling our mission,” EEOC chair Janet Dhillon said.

“By strategically allocating resources, expanding our use of technology, and focusing hiring on front-line positions, the agency has been able to effectively manage its inventories.

“This leads to better results for the public through increased merit factor and higher recoveries throughout our process.”

Mediation Program

The EEOC recently announced that in fiscal 2019, the bulk of its complaints were allegations that employers retaliated against employees who filed discrimination complaints.

The agency’s popular mediation program continued to post positive results in 2020 despite the agency adapting to provide mediations remotely during the pandemic.

The EEOC conducted more than 6,700 successful mediations resulting in $156.6 million in benefits to charging parties without costly litigation.

Since the mediation program was first implemented in 1999, the agency has conducted nearly 245,000 mediations, resolving over 175,000 charges and obtaining over $3 billion in benefits for aggrieved individuals—all within an average processing time of 100 days.

The EEOC continued to provide educational, training, and outreach events during 2020.

Despite the pandemic, EEOC staff conducted more than 2,690 outreach events in the private and federal sectors reaching nearly 300,000 people.

EEOC staff participated in 365 outreach events related to COVID-19, reaching 51,419 individuals.