The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has released detailed breakdowns of the 89,385 charges of workplace discrimination that the agency received in fiscal year 2015.
Retaliation charges increased by nearly 5% and continue to be the leading concern raised by workers across the country.
Disability charges increased by 6% from last year and are the third largest category of charges filed.
"Over the past year, EEOC removed barriers to hire and obtained relief for thousands of people facing retaliation, unfair pay, harassment, and other forms of discrimination," says EEOC Chair Jenny Yang.
"At the same time, we demonstrated our strong commitment to working with employers to voluntarily resolve charges of discrimination by achieving the highest mediation and conciliation success rates in our history."
The year-end data show that retaliation again was the most frequently filed charge of discrimination, with 39,757 charges, making up 45% of all private sector charges filed with EEOC.
The agency is currently seeking public input on its proposed update of enforcement guidance addressing retaliation and related issues as part of its commitment to inform the public about the commission's interpretation of the law and promote voluntary compliance.
Retaliation again was the most frequently filed charge of discrimination, with 39,757 claims, making up 45% of all private sector charges.
The charge numbers show the following breakdowns by bases alleged:
- Retaliation: 39,757 (44.5% of all charges filed)
- Race: 31,027 (34.7%)
- Disability: 26,968 (30.2%)
- Sex: 26,396 (29.5%)
- Age: 20,144 (22.5%)
- National Origin: 9,438 (10.6%)
- Religion: 3,502 (3.9%)
- Color: 2,833 (3.2%)
- Equal Pay Act: 973 (1.1%)
- Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act: 257 (0.3%)
(These percentages add up to more than 100 because some charges allege multiple bases.)
Charges raising harassment allegations—which span industries and affect our nation's most vulnerable workers—made up nearly 28,000 charges, or 31%.
Preventing harassment through systemic enforcement and targeted outreach is a national priority for EEOC.
Employees claimed harassment in charges based on race, age, disability, religion, national origin and sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
To address this pressing issue, EEOC launched a Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace in March 2015.
Co-chaired by Commissioners Chai R. Feldblum and Victoria A. Lipnic, the task force will examine the various forms of workplace harassment and identify and promote strategies to prevent it.
The agency filed 142 merits lawsuits last year, up from 133 the previous year.
The majority of the lawsuits filed alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, followed by suits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
This included 100 individual lawsuits and 42 lawsuits involving multiple victims of discriminatory policies, of which 16 were systemic.
Legal staff resolved 155 lawsuits alleging discrimination.