The Miami office of the EEOC released its 2011 numbers last week. It was a busy year for the agency. Employees filed a record 5,263 charges of discrimination last year. That number is up from 5,077 filed in 2010.
The most popular chargers were charges of retaliation, and race or sex discrimination. Age discrimination charges were also up.
These numbers should come as no real surprise - the nationwide numbers show similar trends. Nationally, the EEOC took in more charges last year than ever before.
The EEOC claims the increase in the number of charges is a result of "more people becoming aware of their rights". I doubt that is entirely accurate. It is more likely that the numbers are up because the economy continues to languish. When employees lose their jobs in a bad economy, they will consider all options. And, one option is to bring claims against their former employer. As long as the economy continues to sputter along, I expect that the EEOC (and labor and employment attorneys) will continue to be busy.