So, in my prior two posts about the new case statistical reports from the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, I’ve looked at the case statistics to see that harassment and terms & conditions claims are up, and that ancestry, race & color claims filed are also up.
But what else can we glean from these numbers?
First, according to the reports, there are a lot more cases pending at the agency than in the last couple of years resulting in a big backlog of cases. Specifically, there are 2670 active and pending cases at the agency by the end of the fiscal year. Contrast that with just 757 in 2014, and 209 in 2013.
That means that employers are likely to have many more of these cases floating around and they are moving at the proverbial snail’s pace. Clearly, if these numbers are right, something isn’t working at the agency.
Second, there has been a (very modest) increase the number of referee decisions at the CHRO — ostensibly being that more cases are being tried through a public hearing. But before you draw many conclusions, the numbers are still paltry. In 2015, just 16 cases had a referee decision. That’s up from six in 2014 and three in 2013.
Nonetheless, the calendar schedule for contested hearings looks busy for the rest of the year so it remains to be seen whether this process will continue at the same levels.
Finally, for those that think that every case is a battle that is won or lost, think again. The plurality of cases at the agency alone are still closed through settlement. In 2015, 968 out of 2334 case closures came through a withdrawal with settlement. And that doesn’t account for the 543 cases that are “released” from jurisdiction so that employees may file in court directly (and whether those cases are settled too).
In short, for employers, the process at the CHRO is slow and you’re still likely to end up trying to settle the case more often than not.
Statistics don’t tell us everything; but to ignore the numbers here is a mistake. Employers do best when they understand and adapt to today’s trends and not simply go by how things were 10 to 15 years ago.
Because the change has been substantial.