In 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) resolved more than 99,109 workplace discrimination claims—securing more than $398 million from employers in the private and public sectors as a result of these claims. Discrimination lawsuits can be very time-consuming and expensive for employers and can result in a loss of employee morale or reputation within the community.
Top Causes of Discrimination Claims
According to the EEOC, the following are the top ten reasons for workplace discrimination claims in fiscal year 2017:
- Retaliation—41,097 (48.8 percent of all charges filed)
- Race—28,528 (33.9 percent)
- Disability—26,838 (31.9 percent)
- Sex—25,605 (30.4 percent)
- Age—18,376 (21.8 percent)
- National origin—8,299 (9.8 percent)
- Religion—3,436 (4.1 percent)
- Color—3,240 (3.8 percent)
- Equal Pay Act—996 (1.2 percent)
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act—206 (0.2 percent)
These percentages add up to more than 100 percent because some lawsuits were filed alleging multiple reasons for discrimination.
What Employers Should Do
Employers should take the following steps to protect themselves from retaliation and other discrimination claims:
- Audit your practices to uncover any problematic situations.
- Create a clear anti-retaliation policy that includes specific examples of what management can and cannot do when disciplining or terminating employees. Following a documented progressive discipline process will help. Check out our on-demand webinar recordings for Performance Communication Made Easy and Performance Documentation Made Easy.
- Provide training to management and employees on anti-retaliation and other discrimination policies.
- Implement a user-friendly internal complaint procedure for employees.
- Uphold a standard of workplace civility, which can reduce retaliatory behaviors.
For more information on discrimination claims and for tips on how to protect your business, contact our People Strategy department at firstname.lastname@example.org.