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Is the EEOC Protecting Workers or Employers?

October 11th, 2019
equal opportunity

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is supposed to protect employees from discrimination in the workplace, but a recent analysis of EEOC complaints filed with the agency over the past 21 years showed relatively little is done. By law, those facing discrimination at work must initially file a complaint with the EEOC before taking their case to federal court.

Huge Failure to Act

Paychex, a New York-based company providing payroll and human resource outsourcing to small and mid-sizing businesses conducted the research. According to its findings, from 1997 to 2018 the EEOC received nearly 1.9 million cases filed by those who felt they were victims of discrimination. However, in 87 percent of those cases, the complaints were either dismissed or the EEOC did not find reasonable cause for discrimination. The EEOC did find reasonable cause in almost five percent of cases, and of those, just 3.2 percent merited consideration for filing a lawsuit. The research also showed that the situation is getting worse, not better. In 2001, nearly 10 percent of filings were found to have reasonable cause. By 2017, the number was less than three percent.

Types of Discrimination

EEOC filings relate to all sorts of discriminatory practices by employers, but some forms of discrimination received far more complaints than others. The distribution included:

  • Race/skin color: 35 percent
  • Sex: 28 percent
  • Age: 21 percent
  • National origin: 10 percent
  • Religion: Three percent
  • Equal pay: One percent

Right to Sue Letter

When the EEOC finds no reasonable cause for discrimination, it sends the complainant a Right to Sue letter. While the worker can then proceed with a lawsuit, relatively few do so. Not only are workers discouraged by the EEOC’s findings of no reasonable cause, but by the time they receive the right to sue document, a great deal of time has passed since the incident prompting the complaint, unless the situation is ongoing. The bottom line is that the EEOC’s process deters employees from taking their employer to court.

No Budget Increase

The analysis also revealed that the EEOC’s budget has remained static after adjusting for inflation since 1980. In 2018, the agency received an additional $16 million from Congress due to the strength of the #MeToo movement in encouraging the reporting of sexual harassment in the workplace. However, the EEOC is severely underfunded for its important mission.

Bucks County Employment Discrimination Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Advocate for Workers Facing Job Discrimination

If you have been a victim of job discrimination, you need the services of the experienced Bucks County employment discrimination lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Call us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. From our offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve employees throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and South Jersey.

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