Why it matters: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission touted several achievements in its Performance and Accountability Report for fiscal year 2013, from a record-setting $372.1 million in monetary relief recovered by the agency to a decrease in the average time to investigate a charge and bring it to resolution. “The EEOC’s accomplishments are especially noteworthy in light of the extraordinary fiscal constraints and operational challenges in FY 2013,” EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien said in a statement. The statistics provide insight into the agency’s actions over the 12-month period and demonstrate the EEOC’s efforts with regard to its Strategic Enforcement Plan, particularly with respect to systemic enforcement. One of the agency’s stated goals for the Plan was to have 22 to 24 percent of its docket based on systemic cases by FY 2016 – a goal achieved in FY 2013. The agency promised that additional statistics for FY 2013 will be released in early 2014.

Detailed Discussion

The EEOC’s Performance and Accountability Report revealed many interesting statistics about the agency’s efforts during fiscal year 2013, covering the months between Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013:

  • Charges filed: The agency received a total of 93,727 private sector discrimination charges, a decrease of roughly 6,000 charges over the previous three fiscal years.
  • Charges resolved: A total of 97,252 charges were resolved, also a decrease over the year before, which the EEOC attributed to “the decline in staffing and resources…including the impact from furloughs.” Resolution through conciliation occurred 1,437 times.
  • Average time: In FY 2012, the average time to investigate and bring charges to resolution was 288 days. The enforcement staff reduced that timeline by 21 days in FY 2013, to 267 days.
  • Monetary recovery: Charging parties recovered $372.1 million, a new record for the agency (up $6.7 million from the year prior).
  • Lawsuits filed: The EEOC filed 131 “merits lawsuits,” with 89 individual suits, 21 non-systemic class suits, and 21 systemic suits. Title VII formed the basis of the majority of the cases (78), followed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (51), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (7), the Equal Pay Act (5), and the Genetic Information Nondisclosure Act (3).
  • Litigation results: Merits lawsuits in federal district courts yielded a total of $39 million in monetary relief for charging parties. A total of 209 merits lawsuits were resolved through litigation. In order of the most claims, the suits were based on: violations of Title VII (135), the Americans with Disabilities Act (59), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (16), the Equal Pay Act (4), and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (1).
  • Trials: Of the 13 cases the EEOC went to trial on in FY 2013 (11 heard by a jury and two bench trials), the agency won nine, resolved one case by a consent decree, and lost one.

In addition to these statistics, the EEOC reported on the second year of its FY 2012-2016 Strategic Enforcement Plan, which has goals like “prioritizing systemic enforcement, expanding education and outreach, and improving customer service.”

With regarding to systemic enforcement, the agency certainly stepped up its efforts in FY 2013. Of the 231 cases on the EEOC’s active docket at year-end, 54 were systemic discrimination cases, or 23 percent – reaching the stated quota for systemic cases to make up 22 to 24 percent of the litigation docket by FY 2016, the end of the Plan period.

In addition, the agency noted that 300 systemic investigations occurred which resulted in 63 conciliation agreements or settlements for a total of $40 million in recovery.

To read the EEOC’s Performance and Accountability Report for FY 2013, click here.