Remember 2010?

Those were the days of Lady Gaga’s “Meat Dress”. You could also play “Angry Birds” on your new smartphone.

And discrimination complaints to the EEOC were about at their all-time high.

But over the last few years — and in particular, last year — discrimination and retaliation claims have been down.


In 2010, 99,922 claims were filed with the EEOC. In 2020, according to statistics that were just released, there were just 67,448 claims.

That the lowest number of claims that were filed at the EEOC in the last 25 years.  

What’s responsible for this drop? Hard to know precisely.  Obviously, the pandemic has had a big influence over the last year; with employees out of the office, there is less room for interaction and certainly less room for trouble.

But 2020 is just confirming a trend that has been happening since a mini-peak in 2016.  As I noted in an earlier post, claims within Connecticut are down the last few years too.  In federal court, employment discrimination claims were down 10 percent in the year ending September 30, 2020.

I’ll leave it to other to opine on the reasons behind this drop. What’s more critical for employers to understand is that the threat of litigation remains and employers have been well served by updating policies and instituting training.

For the employment law attorneys out there, it means less employment litigation. But that litigation can still be costly.  And with a new administration in DC, it’s quite probable that we’ve seen the lowest numbers of claims filed  for some time. After all, the last time the EEOC were this low was in 2005 — in the middle of the Bush administration.  Claims peaked in the height of the Obama Administration and also during the Great Recession.

Employers should remain vigilant, particularly as employee start to return to the office.  Discrimination claims may be down but change may be on the way.