After my post last week on discrimination statistics (and the lack thereof of CHRO statistics that were publicly available), the CHRO was kind enough to release some additional statistics to me that hadn’t been posted on its website and hadn’t been released publicly before.
My sincere thanks to CHRO Principal Attorney Charles Krich for the additional e-mails and information.
Unfortunately, said Krich, the public won’t be able to get as detailed statistical information as it used to because of staffing cuts. Instead, the CHRO is focusing on statistics to evaluate the CHRO’s performance relative to its “statutory and contractual obligations”.
For fiscal year 2012-2013, there were 1850 cases filed — which is up slightly from the year before, but down from 2517 nearly 10 years ago. Notably, from the CHRO’s perspective, it is now closing more cases than it is opening. In the CHRO’s view, it is thus doing a “much better job.”
In 2010-2011, the ratio of cases closed to cases filed was 71 percent. That increased to 105 percent in 2012-2013. In other words, for the 1850 cases filed, there were 1951 cases closed in the last fiscal year.
Although the statistics aren’t as helpful as in the past, there are a few items worth noting.
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise, particularly given the mediocre economy, that complaints about employment termination are still the number one basis for discrimination complaints. Retaliation claims, also not surprisingly, still rank pretty high as well.
But it is a bit surprising to see significant numbers of sexual harassment claims still being filed. While precision isn’t available on these numbers, it appears that such claims are up significantly from a decade ago. This is counter to the national trend which has seen a drop in such claims over the last decade.
The CHRO’s focus, though, is on closing cases. While this is a positive trend overall, particularly to reduce the backlog of cases that had built up, it still leaves some questions unanswered. How are the cases getting closed? Dismissals after finding the claims had no merit? Settlements? Withdrawals by parties frustrated by the process?
Talking with other lawyers who represent employers, we still see too many meritless cases getting pushed through the system — costing employers time and money to defend.
With new leadership at the CHRO, employers should watch the CHRO closely to see what, if any, changes will be implemented in the next year. Statistics can tell part of the story, but how the CHRO handles particular cases will be just as telling.