Earlier this month, the EEOC released its statistics regarding charges for 2018.  I love looking at these because there are certain trends that always pop out. (You can see some prior years here and here.)

Here are five big takeaways that employers in Connecticut can learn from these numbers.

  • Charges Continue to Go Down — a Lot.  For the seventh year in a row, the number of charges processed by the EEOC continued to go down.  In 2018, the EEOC handled 76,418 charges, a 9.3 percent drop from 2017.  This is down substantially from the high water mark in 2011 of 99,947 and the lowest total in general since 2006.
  • But, Some Claims are Way Up.  Perhaps not surprisingly given the attention that continues to be paid to the #metoo movement, sexual harassment claims are up. In 2018, the EEOC received 7,609 sexual harassment charges — a 13.6 percent increase from 2017.
  • Sex Harassment Claims are Also More Costly.  The EEOC received $56.6M in monetary benefits from sexual harassment claims in 2018 — up from $46.3M the prior year.  But interestingly, the number of EEOC-negotiated settlements for such cases is down.  That’s an interesting point — but why?
  • Retaliation Claims Continue their Climb.  20 years ago, retaliation claims of all types represented just 21.7 percent of all charges filed. in 2018, they represented 51.6 perfect of all claims filed. That means over half of all claims filed contain a retaliation charge. I have long said that retaliation claims are far more difficult for employers to defend against — and the rise in the number of claims no doubt represents the success that employees have had in bringing such claims. Success follows success.
  • First-Filed EEOC Claims in Connecticut are Down.  In Connecticut, most claims are first brought to the state agency. But there are some attorneys — and some individuals — who like to file first at the EEOC.  In 2018, there were 214 such claims — down from 264 in 2017. Interestingly, retaliation claims make up just 37 percent of all of these filed charges — less than the national numbers.

Does this mean that there is less discrimination occurring? While it’s tempting to draw that conclusion, statistics on charges are always impacted by the unemployment rate. When it’s easier to find another job, people are less inclined to file charges.