Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released statistics on Charges of Discrimination filed during Fiscal Year 2006, which ended in September. For the first time since 2002, the total number of discrimination claims filed in the U.S. increased over the previous year, although that increase was relatively small. All categories of discrimination claims increased from the previous year, with the exception of age and equal pay claims, which showed small decreases in 2006. Fifteen percent of sexual harassment claims were filed by men last year, a record percentage.
Of the Charges filed, a historically high 22 percent were found by the EEOC to have merit. The EEOC itself filed 317 lawsuits in 2006, including 137 involving multiple plaintiffs or class actions. The agency collected $274 million last year on behalf of aggrieved parties, including $44 million recovered through litigation. The EEOC also reported that its mediation program resolved a record 8201 Charges in 2006.