In yesterday’s post, I talked about how employment claims being filed are up big at the CHRO.
Indeed, in looking at the statistics further, I realized that it is the second highest number of claims being filed in the last 15 years.
So, FY 2015 was a very big year for claims.
But typically, in an improving economy, claims go down. At least that’s the prevailing wisdom. So, what gives?
I wondered if the statistics could help explain the increase further?
In part, yes.
If you look at the “discharge” claims — that is, the claim that “I was fired because of discrimination” — those claims are basically the same (1174 for FY 2015 vs. 1164 in 2014.)
Compared with 2003 – the peak year for employment claims at 2211 — discharge claims are actually down substantially. Indeed, in 2003, there were 1385 claims. Thus, discharge claims are actually down 15 percent since 2003.
So, where are these claims coming from? One is from an obvious source: Retaliation claims.
In 2003, there were 516 claims filed. In 2014, 625. And in 2015, 753. A 46 percent increase in the last decade or so and 20 percent over the last year alone.
Another is from a not so obvious source: from the “terms and conditions” area. That is, employees who claim that they are being discriminated against in the “terms and conditions” of their employment when it comes to such things as hiring, firing, promotions, and pay. It also means an employer may not discriminate, for example, when granting breaks, approving leave, assigning work stations, or setting any other term or condition of employment – however small.
In 2003, there were 411 such claims filed. In 2014, 782. And in FY2015 — a spike to 941. That translates to a 130 percent increase in such claims over the last 12 years and 20 percent over the last year alone.
In my mind, that means that many current employees are bringing discrimination claims against their employers based on the terms and conditions of their employment.
One other source? Harassment claims. Notably, I’m not talking about sexual harassment claims which are actually down from last year and down 24 percent from 2003.
Instead, this is the catch all claim for “I’m harassed” because of some other reason. 503 claims were filed in FY 2015 vs. 380 in 2014 and just 175 in 2003. That’s an increase of nearly 190 percent in the last 12 years and 32 percent last year alone!
Again, these are typically brought by current employees who may be dissatistifed with things at work and believe that they are being “harassed” by their supervisor.
Indeed, the notion of “workplace bullying” movement is premised, at least in part, on this idea.
So, what’s the takeaway here? You may be looking for claims in the wrong spot. Dismissal claims are fairly constant, but it is claims by current employees that are up substantially over past years.
And while we’ve talked about the increase in retaliation claims for many years, but harassment and “terms & conditions” claims are now the hot areas — at least in Connecticut.
Is there anything else to be gleaned from the statistics? Any other reasons why we’re seeing an increase? Stay tuned for the next post.