Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
On November 16, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – an agency advancing opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – published its annual Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Agency Financial Report that showed the EEOC secured a record amount of recovery of more than $535 million for victims of workplace discrimination, according to an EEOC press release.
The report showed the EEOC made significant progress in managing pending inventories of charges, hearings, and appeals, during FY 2020, which lasted from October 1, 2019, to September 30, 2020. The EEOC reduced the private sector charge workload by 3.7 percent to 41,951, the lowest pending inventory in 14 years, and increased the percentage of charges resolved with an outcome favorable to the charging party to 17.4 percent.
In the federal sector, the EEOC successfully decreased the pending inventory of hearing receipts for the third consecutive year – a reduction of 15.7 percent, from 12,933 in FY 2019 to 10,905 in FY 2020 – and reduced the number of federal sector appeals that were more than 500 days old by 32 percent. Other highlights of the EEOC FY 2020 Agency Financial Report include the following accomplishments:
- The EEOC secured a record amount of recovery, more than $535 million, for victims of discrimination in the workplace. This includes $333.2 million in monetary relief for employees and applicants in the private sector and state and local government workplaces through mediation, conciliation, and other administrative enforcement, and $106 million in monetary relief through litigation. The litigation recovery was the highest since 2004. The EEOC also secured $96.2 million in monetary relief for federal employees and job applicants.
- The EEOC’s popular mediation program continued to show positive results, as the agency adapted to providing 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 the need for 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 fiscal year 2020. Despite the impact of the pandemic, EEOC staff conducted more than 2,690 outreach events in the private and federal sectors reaching nearly 300,000 people. Because of the need to provide the public with crucial information on the interplay between COVID-19-related issues and employment discrimination laws, the EEOC prioritized COVID-19-related outreach. EEOC staff participated in 365 outreach events related to COVID-19, reaching 51,419 individuals.
- The EEOC provided high-quality, easy to understand guidance in response to the pandemic, including a question and answer document, What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws. The document, which was updated several times out the fiscal year to address additional questions, was viewed approximately 1 million times on EEOC’s website.
“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 stated in the press release. “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.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, transgender status, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws. To learn more about the EEOC, visit www.eeoc.gov.
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