This week, the EEOC released its annual Performance & Accountability Report for its fiscal 2011 year (ending September 30, 2011). In what may come as no surprise in a bad economy, where unemployment is high and more and more employees are being laid off, the EEOC reported that in 2011 it received almost 100,000 new charges of discrimination (99,947, to be exact) - the most new charges filed in any year in the agency’s nearly 50-year history. The EEOC also reported that it ended the year with just over 78,000 open cases, which represents a 10 percent reduction in its backlog.

Other interesting details from the EEOC’s annual report include that it recovered more than $360 million in monetary benefits for alleged victims of discrimination through enforcement proceedings (the EEOC filed 261 lawsuits in its fiscal 2011); that through its mediation program it resolved almost 10,000 cases, resulting in more than $170 million in settlements for charge-filers; and that as of the end of the fiscal year, it was involved in 580 systemic investigations.