The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) recently issued its 2012 Annual Report. The Report provides insight as to current trends at the MCAD, as well as its future objectives.
Regarding 2012, the Report details the following:
- The MCAD received 3,186 new complaint filings in 2012. 1,1079 (19.9%) alleged disability discrimination, 1022 (18.8%) alleged race discrimination, 951 (17.5%) alleged sex discrimination, and 902 (16.6%) alleged retaliation. According to the Report, "[r]etaliation claims went up once again in 2012, showing an uptick pattern in the last several years."
- There were 4,450 open cases at year's end. Of those open cases, 808 (15%) were in active litigation after a probable cause finding. The Report notes that the case inventory for active litigation has increased and "is directly related to the rise in the probable cause rate."
- Of the 2,207 cases disposed in 2012 (up from 2,078 in 2011), 569 resulted in a Probable Cause (PC) determination, a 26% PC rate. According to the MCAD's previous annual reports, the PC rate was 25% in 2011, 22.3% in 2010 and 17.1% in 2009.
- The Report confirmed our anecdotal experiences of high investigator caseloads. According to the Report, the average investigator caseload was 250 cases. Each investigator was assigned approximately 17 new cases per month, while closing out an average 12 cases per month. This suggests that the investigators' caseloads will increase if new cases continue to outpace closed cases.
- Despite this high caseload, according to the MCAD the average case completion time dropped from 22 months in 2010 to less than 18 months in 2012.
- Commission counsel settled 132 cases through conciliation, resulting in awards of approximately $1,739,665. In 2011, Commission counsel settled 116 cases through conciliation.
- 228 voluntary early mediations occurred, and 155 mediations resulted in settlement. The total amount of money received by individuals via mediation was approximately $1,995,972.
The Report also provides valuable insight regarding the MCAD's future focus and objectives. Although issued late in 2013, the Report highlights the following objectives for 2013 (and beyond):
- Issuing revised sexual harassment, disability and parental leave regulations.
- Development of an online filing system for employment-related complaints.
- Strengthening collaborative efforts with community groups, immigrant communities, traditional civil rights groups such as local human rights commissions, and other advocacy groups.
- Continuing to enhance outreach and collaboration with municipal governments, the business community, and underserved communities.
The creation of an online filing system would be a significant change for the MCAD and likely would result in an increase in new complaints. Additionally, the MCAD's collaborative efforts with other agencies and groups could also impact the number of cases filed.
We will continue to monitor and provide updates on the MCAD's activities.