The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently announced that it received 99,922 Charges of Discrimination in its fiscal year 2010, which ended on September 30. This represents an increase of more than seven percent over FY 2009, and reverses the small decrease in Charges between 2008 and 2009. The EEOC also stated that it will release detailed statistics on the basis for the Charges in early 2011.
The agency's press release noted that despite the increased number of Charges, its overall pending matters inventory only increased by a small amount, reversing significant increases in Charge processing time seen in previous years. The EEOC attributed this better performance to its expansion of the number of investigators under the Obama Administration.
This increase in Charge filings may have resulted from multiple factors. The ADA Amendments Act significantly expanded the definition of protected disabled persons, and may have led to an increase in disability discrimination claims. If recent trends continue, the statistics should reflect growing numbers of retaliation and age discrimination claims as well. Finally, improving economic conditions may result in increased claims by employees previously concerned about their ability to locate replacement employment if a discrimination claim resulted in loss of their current jobs.