The CHRO has issued its Annual report ending for the fiscal year June 30, 2007, and made it available for public viewing. Its full of statistics that show trends in the workplace; such information is particularly useful for human resources personnel and in-house counsel.
What does it show?
- Employment claims are down nearly 20 percent from a peak in FY 2002/2003. (1743 for FY ending 6/07 vs. 2211 ending 6/03).
- Notably, despite the theory that retaliation claims are being filed more frequently, that number is virtually identical (507 for 6/07 vs. 516 in 6/03). However, because the overall employment claims are down, retaliation cases certainly appear to make up a greater percentage of the cases filed. Perhaps that’s why many perceive retaliation cases to be on the "rise".
A few other trends are worth noting as well.
- Sexual harassment cases filed are down substantially by over 30 percent in the last 6 years. In 2000, 271 cases were filed, while in 2006, just 188 cases were filed.
- General "harassment" cases, however, are up over 100 percent. In 2002/03, 175 claims were filed, while in 2006/07, 428 complaints were filed. It is unclear whether this is due to a reclassification of the term "harassment" or whether the actual claims are up.
- Claims for "terms and conditions" discrimination (in other words, something other than hiring/firing), are up over 10 percent (from 411 to 461, in the last 4 years).
- The numbers of decisions from the Public Hearing Officers is WAY down. In 2002/2003, they issued 67 decisions, compared with just 10 in 2006/2007. (Most cases are now being resolved at this level by settlement.)
- Yet the number of reasonable cause findings is remarkably consistent (88 in 2002/2003 compared with 92 in 2006/2007) — again making up a bigger percentage of overall cases filed.
What does this mean? It means that discrimination cases in general are slowing down in recent years. This can be attributed to multiple factors, including a steady economy and increasing education among employers. Given the other increase in wage and hour claims, it may be that some plaintiff’s attorneys are encouraging those claims (where the need to prove intent is not necessary, in some instances) rather than the traditional discrimination claims.
One cautionary note, at the EEOC, the overall number of claims filed INCREASED last year reversing a multi-year decrease on the national level. Whether this reversal continues or is just a blip, remains to be seen. Certainly, in Connecticut, we have not yet seen the decline in discrimination claims end just yet.