According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) most recent Performance and Accountability Report (PAR), (pdf) a record number (99,947) of private sector employment discrimination charges were filed during Fiscal Year 2011, the 12-month period ending on September 30, 2011. In addition, the agency recovered more than $364.6 million in monetary benefits for charging parties during that time, the largest amount obtained through the administrative process in the agency’s 46-year history. The PAR measures the EEOC’s performance and financial accountability based on its Strategic Plan for FY 2007 through FY 2012.

Other findings of note include the following:

A total of 112,499 discrimination charges were resolved in FY 2011.

78,136 charges were pending at the end of FY 2011, a 10 % decrease from the prior year. According to the EEOC, this is the first drop in pending inventory since 2002.

EEOC field units filed 261 merits lawsuits in FY 2011, an increase of 11 lawsuits from the prior year. Merits lawsuits “include direct suits and interventions alleging violations of the substantive provisions of the statutes enforced by the Commission and suits to enforce administrative settlements.” Broken down by type of complaint, 162 filings contained Title VII claims; 80 included Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims; 26 alleged violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA); and 2 involved Equal Pay Act (EPA) claims. The EEOC also filed 39 subpoena enforcement and other actions.

Of these new filings, 177 were individual suits; 61 involved 2-19 plaintiffs, and 23 were classified as “systemic” discrimination lawsuits involving at least 20 known or expected class members. Systemic lawsuits are those that allege patterns of discrimination that have a broad impact. According to the PAR, such class action cases represented 9 % of all merits filings.

  • A total of 277 merits lawsuits were resolved in FY 2011, resulting in $90.9 million in monetary recovery. Broken down by types of discrimination charges, Title VII claims were involved in 215 resolutions; ADA claims in 42; ADEA claims in 26; and EPA claims in 2 resolutions. With respect to monetary recovery for direct, indirect and intervention lawsuits by statute, the Commission secured $54.3 million in Title VII resolutions, $8.4 million in ADEA resolutions, $27.1 million in ADA resolutions, and $1.1 million in resolutions involving more than one statute.
  • A total of 443 lawsuits were still pending at the end of FY 2011.
  • The Commission devoted resources to investigating and litigating cases of systemic discrimination as a top agency priority. As a result of the national systemic enforcement program, there were 580 on-going investigations of more than 2,000 complaints alleging systemic discrimination. Field offices resolved 235 systemic investigations. These investigations resulted in 35 settlement or conciliation agreements and $8.6 million in monetary recovery. Ninety-six systemic investigations resulted in reasonable cause determinations.
  • 40.7% of private sector charge resolutions were completed within 180 days or less.
  • The EEOC met its goal of achieving a successful resolution for at least 90% of its lawsuits. Successful resolutions “include cases decided by favorable court order and those concluded through a consent decree or a settlement agreement in litigation.”
  • The EEOC’s private sector national mediation program resulted in a record 9,831 resolutions, 5% more than that achieved in FY 2010. As a result of this program, the EEOC secured more than $170 million in monetary benefits for complainants, the greatest amount in the program’s history.