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In 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) resolved more than 99,109 workplace discrimination claims—securing more than $398 million from employers in the private and public sectors as a result of these claims. Discrimination lawsuits can be very time-consuming and expensive for employers, and can result in a loss of employee morale or reputation within the community.
Top Causes of Discrimination Claims
According to the EEOC, the following are the top 10 reasons for workplace discrimination claims in fiscal year 2017:
- Retaliation—41,097 (48.8 percent of all charges filed)
- Race—28,528 (33.9 percent)
- Disability—26,838 (31.9 percent)
- Sex—25,605 (30.4 percent)
- Age—18,376 (21.8 percent)
- National origin—8,299 (9.8 percent)
- Religion—3,436 (4.1 percent)
- Color—3,240 (3.8 percent)
- Equal Pay Act—996 (1.2 percent)
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act—206 (0.2 percent)
These percentages add up to more than 100 percent because some lawsuits were filed alleging multiple reasons for discrimination.
Retaliation claims are the most frequently filed charge of discrimination—making up more than 48 percent of all charges filed in 2017. The number of retaliation lawsuits may continue to rise in the future due to new regulations proposed by the EEOC.
What Employers Should Do
Employers should take the following steps to protect themselves from retaliation and other discrimination claims:
- Audit their practices to uncover any problematic situations.
- Create a clear anti-retaliation policy that includes specific examples of what management can and cannot do when disciplining or terminating employees.
- Provide training to management and employees on anti-retaliation and other discrimination policies.
- Implement a user-friendly internal complaint procedure for employees.
- Uphold a standard of workplace civility, which can reduce retaliatory behaviors.
For more information on claims and for tips on how to protect your business, contact The Safegard Group, Inc. today. The Safegard Group’s employee benefits department is well versed in dealing with the intricacies of claims related to the human resources of your business.