Why it matters: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its annual report to Congress detailing its enforcement efforts and activity over the prior fiscal year. The 2014 Performance and Accountability Report revealed that the agency filed 133 merits lawsuits over the prior 12 months, made up of 105 individual lawsuits, 11 nonsystemic class suits, and 17 class systemic lawsuits, with Title VII claims forming the basis of the majority of the suits. The agency recovered $22.5 million in monetary relief via litigation and an additional $296.1 million through other enforcement efforts. For employment lawyers, the statistics provide insight into the focus of the EEOC’s enforcement actions and its continued commitment to bring systemic class actions as part of its strategic enforcement plan.

Detailed Discussion

A total of 88,778 private-sector charges of discrimination were filed with the agency in FY 2014, a decrease from 93,727 in FY 2013. The EEOC attributed the decrease, at least in part, to the government shutdown and sequestration. The agency resolved a total of 87,442 charges (also a decrease from the prior year’s resolution of 97,252 charges).

The EEOC kept busy in the courtroom during FY 2014, filing a total of 133 lawsuits. Of those suits, 76 contained Title VII claims, 49 had Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allegations, 12 made Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) claims, 2 had Equal Pay Act (EPA) claims, and 2 made allegations of Genetic Information and Non-Disclosure Act (GINA) violations.

Continuing the agency’s efforts to ensure that at least 20 percent of its cases allege systemic violations, the EEOC filed 17 new systemic suits, a decrease from 21 filed in FY 2013. However, the number of ongoing systemic lawsuits rose from 54 last year to 57 this year.

At the end of FY 2014, the EEOC reported that 228 cases remained on its active docket (with systemic lawsuits constituting roughly 25 percent of the lawsuits).

The report also documented a total of $22.5 million in monetary relief recovered by the agency for charging parties through litigation and an additional $296.1 million collected through mediation, conciliation, and other administrative enforcement efforts – a decrease from FY 2013’s $372.1 million.

To read the EEOC’s FY 2014 Performance and Accountability Report, click here.