As part of my continuing series of posts about the CHRO, and following up from the 75th Anniversary panel discussion earlier this week, I wanted to provide an early look of the statistics that are soon to be released by the agency.
I was provided a preliminary draft in preparation for the panel presentation; it should be out in the next week or two and I was asked not to divulge the specific numbers. Stay tuned for my deep dive into the numbers when they are officially released. (As a refresher, you can see last year’s numbers here.)
But there are few trends that are readily apparent from the draft.
First, as we have all suspected, sexual harassment claims filed with the CHRO are up substantially over the prior year. This is not too surprising given the publicity regarding the #metoo movement. Still, we haven’t seen these types of numbers in nearly 15 years. When the final numbers are released, expect a big increase in sexual harassment claims from FY ’17 to FY ’18.
Second, we continue to see an increase in the numbers of employment discrimination claims being filed at the state agency. While it is tempting to draw conclusions from this, the numbers seem to correlate closely to the increase in sexual harassment claims. Normally, in an improving economy, we see decreases in the numbers of claims filed. We haven’t and that should raise some concerns for employers.
Third, the numbers of cases withdrawn “with settlement” are down substantially. It’s hard to know what to make of this. With more cases getting dismissed by the agency, it could just be that some of the “nuisance” value cases are getting handled that way, but the drop seems to be much more than that. When the final report is released, it’ll be worth taking a deeper dive into the numbers.
Despite all of the numbers, the numbers of cases certified to public hearing and the number of reasonable cause drafts issues has remained constant from year to year. This may be the result of the consistent approach that the CHRO has been seeking to implement over the last few years.
The biggest takeaway for employers? Discrimination and harassment complaints are likely at the second highest total they’ve been at in the last decade.
The age of increased discrimination and harassment claims isn’t over; it’s happening right now.