Last week the EEOC released its charge statistics from fiscal year 2017, which ran from Oct 1, 2016 through Sept 30, 2017.

  • Retaliation was the most common claim in FY 2017, followed by race discrimination, disability discrimination, sex discrimination (all types, including sexual harassment), age discrimination, national origin discrimination, and religious discrimination.
  • Charges were down a bit in all categories, but monetary relief was up in LGBT cases and, in sexual harassment cases, was at the highest level since 2010. BUT — note that the EEOC’s fiscal year ended before the #MeToo movement began so we predict the 2018 statistics will paint a very different picture.
  • Further, note that the EEOC’s new online portal, launched in November 2017, which makes it incredibly easy for individuals to sign in and file charges.

Key Takeaways

  • Anticipate an uptick in employee complaints of harassment and discrimination, given that these issues have received – and will continue to receive – increased media attention.
  • Take this heightened awareness as an opportunity to review and, if necessary, revise anti-harassment, anti-discrimination and/or anti-retaliation policies. It is crucial that these policies provide multiple avenues for employees to report incidents of perceived harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
  • In this current climate, there really is no time like the present to conduct sensitivity training and remind employees of company policies and reporting obligations.
  • Consider specialized training for your HR workforce and management teams to ensure that any employee complaints of harassment, discrimination, retaliation and other inappropriate behavior are adequately investigated, documented and, if necessary, corrected.
  • For multinational employers, consult counsel before proactively making a global policy statement against sexual harassment.