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Which type of employment discrimination complaint is most common?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently announced its results from Fiscal Year 2017, which ended on Sept. 30 of last year. It received 84,254 charges of discrimination last year and resolved 99,109 -- reducing its overall workload by 16.2 percent. It also handled over 540,000 inquiries on its toll-free number and another 155,000 at its field offices.

Of all the charges lodged by workers, claims of unlawful retaliation were most common, followed by complaints about race and disability discrimination. Here is a ranked list of the most common types of complaints. Keep in mind that since some charges contained more than one type of complaint, the total adds up to more than 100 percent:

  • Retaliation - 48.8 percent
  • Race - 33.9 percent
  • Disability - 31.9 percent
  • Sex - 30.4 percent
  • Age - 21.8 percent
  • National origin - 9.8 percent
  • Religion - 4.1 percent
  • Color - 3.8 percent
  • Equal pay - 1.2 percent
  • Genetic information - 0.2 percent

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing many of our nation's anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. Together, these laws prohibit discrimination or retaliation based on race, color, national origin, gender, religion, disability, age pregnancy and genetic information, along with sexual and other forms of harassment. Private sector and state and local employees can have cases evaluated and resolved by the EEOC.

The agency enforces these laws through investigations, a conciliation process and by filing lawsuits on the merits. In FY 2017, the EEOC filed 184 merits lawsuits, including 124 individual claims, 30 alleging systemic discrimination, and 30 alleging discriminatory policies or multiple victims. By the end of the year, the agency had 242 active cases on its docket. It achieved a successful outcome in 90.8 percent of the lawsuits it completed.

"Over the past year, the EEOC has remained steadfast in its commitment to its core values and mission: to vigorously enforce our nation's civil rights laws," said the agency's acting chair. "The results for the last fiscal year demonstrate exactly that."

If you are experiencing discrimination or harassment at work, or if you have faced retaliation after standing up for your rights, consider getting an employment law attorney involved in your case. A lawyer can help you protect your rights and build a convincing case. A lawyer can also help prevent retaliation from occurring.

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