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EEOC Private Employee Bias Charge Backlog Now Lowest in Years

Feb. 10, 2020, 10:42 PM

The backlog of pending discrimination charges workers filed against their employers with the EEOC in fiscal year 2019 fell to the lowest number in 13 years. The backlog of charges filed against private employers dipped to 43,580, the agency said in its annual performance report. The EEOC had a backlog of 49,607 charges in FY 2018.

“As Chair, I want to build upon the agency’s legacy and continue to take on workplace discrimination, while striking a careful balance between enforcement and assistance in compliance through outreach and effective communication,” Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Janet Dhillon said in the report. “Too often, justice delayed is justice denied.”

The agency’s announcement of a smaller inventory of charges comes at a time when the agency’s staff levels are at a historic low, according to one agency leader. Democratic Commissioner Charlotte Burrows recently testified before lawmakers that full-time EEOC employee levels are at their lowest in 40 years. The five-person leadership commission also has vacancies; only three of its five seats are filled.

Workers filed 72,675 charges of discrimination with the agency in fiscal year 2019, more than 3,700 fewer charges than fiscal year 2018.

The agency didn’t say how many staff members were hired in fiscal year 2019, but the report cited new hires in 2018 and 2019 as how the “agency was able to make significant progress managing our pending workload of charges.”

The EEOC enforces federal anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, and receives and investigates workplace discrimination claims, including those filed by federal workers. The agency also decreased its backlog of federal hearing receipts by 5%, from 13,612 in fiscal year 2018 to 12,933 in fiscal year 2019.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paige Smith in Washington at psmith@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com; Karl Hardy at khardy@bloomberglaw.com

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