Employers paid out a record $68.2 million to those alleging sexual harassment violations through the EEOC in 2019, shattering the all-time record by over $10 million. The #MeToo movement continues to be a major influence on workplaces across the country.
This is just one of many interesting findings released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in its annual data summary covering fiscal year 2019).
The January 24 release is full of eye-opening statistics that could help set compliance priorities for 2020 and beyond. Here are some thought-provoking takeaways from the EEOC’s annual summary.
The most compelling piece of information from the release is the amount of money recovered from employers in 2019 for claims of sexual harassment. The $68.2 million represents a 20% increase from the previous all-time high set of $56.6 million in 2018, and is nearly double the total from just five years previous ($35 million in 2014).
Claims of sexual harassment remained high in 2019. Although the number of claims dipped slightly from 7,609 in 2018 to 7,514 in 2019, this figure still represents the second-highest mark for claims in the past seven years.
By a very wide margin, the most common EEOC claim employers faced in 2019 involved allegations of retaliation. Once again, these claims proved to be the most popular filed by workers. In 2019, over 39,000 retaliation claims were filed, representing nearly 54% of all claims filed with the EEOC.
The next-highest type of claim filed with the EEOC in 2019 were disability discrimination allegations. Following the passage of the ADA Amendments Act in 2008, there has been a steady increase in the number of such claims. Pre-ADAAA, only 14,893 disability claims were filed, representing under 20% of all EEOC claims. By 2019, that number had jumped to 24,238, accounting for a third of all claims filed.
The EEOC has placed a recent emphasis on efficiency, and the numbers bear out the success that the agency is having in this area. Just two years prior, the EEOC only resolved 125 pieces of litigation, including 109 merits suits (those involving substantive claims, excluding subpoena enforcement or pure requests for preliminary injunctions). By 2019, those numbers increased dramatically. The agency resolved 180 pieces of litigation, including 173 merits cases.