Posts Tagged ‘EEOC’

EEOC Touts $484M Recovery for Discrimination Victims in FY 2017; 99,000+ Charges Resolved

Federal agencies like to trumpet their achievements at year’s end. And who can blame them? They’re funded by taxpayers who want to see s good return on their dollar.

By that standard, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had a very good 2017.

The year is not over, you say? It is for the government, whose fiscal year ended on Sept. 30.

The EEOC made significant progress in managing the pending inventory of charges during fiscal year 2017, which ended Sept. 30, the agency reported in its annual Performance and Accountability Report published on Nov. 15.

EEOC offices deployed new strategies to more efficiently prioritize charges with merit and more quickly resolve investigations once the agency had sufficient information. Together with improvements in the agency’s digital systems, these strategies produced an increase in charge resolutions and a significant decrease in charge inventory. As a result, in fiscal year 2017 the EEOC resolved 99,109 charges and reduced the charge workload by 16.2 percent to 61,621, the lowest level of inventory in 10 years. Additionally, during the fiscal year, the EEOC handled over 540,000 calls to the toll-free number and more than 155,000 contacts about possible charge filing in field offices, resulting in 84,254 charges being filed.

“The pending inventory of private sector charges (the backlog) has been a longstanding issue for the EEOC and the public it serves,” said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. “Early in the calendar year, we made addressing the backlog a priority. A primary point of this effort was to share strategies among our offices that have been particularly effective in dealing with the pending inventory, while ensuring we are capturing charges with merit. I thank EEOC’s employees for their work and congratulate them on this progress.”

Other fiscal year 2017 highlights include:

The EEOC secured approximately $484 million for victims of discrimination in the workplace. This includes $355.6 million in monetary relief for those who work in the private sector and state and local government workplaces through mediation, conciliation and other administrative enforcement, and $42.4 million in monetary relief for charging parties through litigation. The EEOC also secured $86 million in monetary relief for federal employees and applicants. Importantly, in each of these categories, the agency obtained substantial changes to discriminatory practices to remedy violations of equal employment opportunity laws and prevent future discriminatory conduct.

In fiscal year 2017, the EEOC filed 184 merits lawsuits, including 124 suits on behalf of individuals, 30 non-systemic suits with multiple victims, and 30 systemic suits. This is more than double the number of suits filed in fiscal year 2016. Additionally, EEOC’s legal staff resolved 109 merits lawsuits for a total monetary recovery of $42.4 million and achieved a favorable result in 91 percent of all district court resolutions. In addition, a number of very significant suits were successfully resolved.

The agency’s outreach programs reached 317,000 people during the year through participation in more than 4,000 no-cost educational, training and outreach events. The EEOC continued to promote the online Small Business Resource Center to provide a one-stop shop to help small businesses easily access information about employer responsibilities. The Small Business Administration Ombudsman’s Report again gave EEOC an “A” rating for responsiveness to small business concerns.

On the technology front, the agency further enhanced its online capabilities for the public and made internal operational improvements. For the public, the EEOC advanced its online services by way of a pilot program which allowed individuals in five EEOC offices to submit inquiries online, schedule interviews, and submit and receive charge information. This pilot led to the nationwide launch of the EEOC Public Portal in November 2017. Internally, the agency replaced many paper procedures with more efficient online tools.

In our federal sector program, the agency resolved 6,661 hearings complaints and secured more than $72.7 million in relief for federal employees. EEOC also resolved 4,284 appeals of agency decisions on federal sector complaints, a 14 percent increase over the previous year, including 47.3 percent of them within 180 days of receipt, and secured more than $13.3 million in relief. Our federal program also reduced its pending inventory of appeals by 11 percent to 3,658 the lowest level in nine years.

EEOC’s fiscal year 2017 Performance and Accountability Report is posted on the agency’s web site at https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/upload/2017par.pdf. Comprehensive enforcement and litigation statistics for fiscal year 2017 will be available on the agency’s website in January 2018.

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EEOC Trumpets Cuts in Charge Backlog

The shelves of waiting charges at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are not quite so full as before.

The EEOC made significant progress in managing the pending inventory of charges in fiscal year 2017, the agency reported today.  EEOC offices deployed new strategies to more efficiently prioritize charges with merit and more quickly resolve investigations once the agency had sufficient information.  Together with improvements in the agency’s digital systems, these strategies produced an increase in charge resolutions and a significant decrease in charge inventory.  As a result, in fiscal year 2017 the EEOC resolved 99,109 charges and reduced the charge workload by 16.2 percent to 61,621, the lowest level of inventory in 10 years.  Additionally, during the fiscal year, the EEOC handled over 540,000 calls to the toll-free number and more than 155,000 contacts about possible charge filing in field offices, resulting in 84,254 charges being filed.

“The pending inventory of private sector charges (the backlog) has been a longstanding issue for the EEOC and the public it serves,” said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic.  “Early in the calendar year, we made addressing the backlog a priority. A primary point of this effort was to share strategies among our offices that have been particularly effective in dealing with the pending inventory, while ensuring we are capturing charges with merit. I thank EEOC’s employees for their work and congratulate them on this progress.”

Other fiscal year 2017 highlights include:

The EEOC secured approximately $484 million for victims of discrimination in the workplace. This includes $355.6 million in monetary relief for those who work in the private sector and state and local government workplaces through mediation, conciliation and other administrative enforcement and $42.4 million in monetary relief for charging parties through litigation.  The EEOC also secured $86 million in monetary relief for federal employees and applicants.  Importantly, in each of these categories, the agency obtained substantial changes to discriminatory practices to remedy violations of equal employment opportunity laws and prevent future discriminatory conduct.

In fiscal year 2017, the EEOC filed 184 merits lawsuits, including 124 suits on behalf of individuals, 30 non-systemic suits with multiple victims, and 30 systemic suits. This is more than double the number of suits filed in fiscal year 2016. Additionally, EEOC’s legal staff resolved 109 merits lawsuits for a total monetary recovery of $42.4 million and achieved a favorable result in 90.8 percent of all district court resolutions.  In addition, a number of very significant suits were successfully resolved.

The agency’s outreach programs reached 317,000 people during the year through participation in more than 4,000 no-cost educational, training and outreach events. EEOC also revamped its Youth@Work website to provide updated resources for America’s next generation of workers. To help small businesses, EEOC launched the online Small Business Resource Center to provide a one-stop shop to help small businesses access information about employer responsibilities to prevent or eliminate discrimination on the job.

On the technology front, the agency further enhanced its online capabilities for the public and made internal operational improvements.  For the public, the EEOC advanced its online services by way of a pilot program which allowed individuals in five EEOC offices to submit inquiries online, schedule interviews, and submit and receive charge information.  This pilot led to the nationwide launch of the EEOC Public Portal in November 2017.  Internally, the agency replaced paper procedures with more efficient online tools.

The EEOC’s accomplishments will be detailed in the EEOC’s fiscal year 2017 Performance and Accountability Report that will be posted on the agency’s web site on November 15, 2017.  Comprehensive enforcement and litigation statistics for fiscal year 2017 will be available on the agency’s website in January 2018.

EEOC Program Pitches Respect in Workplace

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. We’d all like a little more of it in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is pitching in.

The EEOC announced October 4 that it will launch two new trainings for employers: Leading for Respect (for supervisors) and Respect in the Workplace (for all employees). Instead of traditional compliance training that solely focuses on legal definitions and standards for liability, the new program provides an exciting training alternative for harassment prevention. The trainings will be conducted by EEOC Training Institute staff.

The training program focuses on respect, acceptable workplace conduct, and the types of behaviors that contribute to a respectful and inclusive, and therefore ultimately more profitable, workplace. The program is customizable for different types of workplaces and includes a section for reviewing employers’ own harassment prevention policies and procedures.

The training program is an outgrowth of the Report of the Co-Chairs of the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace.

“We always said the report was just a first step,” said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic, co-author of the report. “Implementation of the report’s recommendations is key. These trainings incorporate the report’s recommendations on compliance, workplace civility, and bystander intervention training. I believe the trainings can have a real impact on workplace culture, and I hope employers make use of them.”

EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, the report’s other author, said, “A strong training program is a critical piece of a holistic harassment prevention effort. We know that workplace incivility often acts as a ‘gateway drug’ to workplace harassment. These trainings, therefore, provide employees with the specific skills they need to act respectfully and to intervene when they observe disrespectful or abusive behavior. In short, the program is designed to stop improper behavior before it ever rises to the level of illegal harassment.”

For more information on the Respectful Workplaces Training Program for private employers or state or local government agencies, go to the EEOC Training Institute website, contact your nearest Outreach and Education Coordinator, or contact Program Analyst Michelle Crew at michelle.crew@eeoc.gov. For more information on the Respectful Workplaces Training Program for federal agencies, contact FederalTrainingandOutreach@eeoc.gov.

The trainings were designed by Fran Sepler, of Sepler and Associates, under a contract with the EEOC.

EEOC Settles Contempt Action Against Club

An adult entertainment club in Jackson, Mississippi treated its female employees badly and apparently snubbed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC announced today that it has settled a contempt action against Baby O’s Restaurant, dba Danny’s Downtown, a Jackson-based provider of adult entertainment services. The contempt action charged that Danny’s breached the terms of an agreement it entered into with the EEOC to resolve a racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Danny’s subjected four African-American females to unlawful race discrimination and retaliation. The EEOC charged that black entertainers were subjected to a variety of less advantageous terms and conditions of employment than white ones. The misconduct included subjecting African-American entertainers to arbitrary fees and fines, forcing them to work on less lucrative shifts, and excluding them from company advertisements, all because of their race. The EEOC also charged that Danny’s retaliated against the entertainers by reducing their work hours when one of them engaged in activity protected by law, including filing a discrimination charge with the EEOC. The EEOC alleged the retaliation was so severe that one of the entertainers was forced to leave her employment.

Updated Digest of EEO Law Now Available

If you work for the federal government or bring EEO cases against federal government agencies, you’ll want to consult the latest Digest of Equal Employment Opportunity Law.

This publication, updated quarterly by the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO), “features a wide variety of recent Commission decisions and federal court cases of interest. Additionally, the Digest includes hyperlinks so that stakeholders can easily access the full decisions which have been summarized,” the EEOC said.

“This annual special round up of noteworthy case decisions provides a one-stop location for federal sector stakeholders,” said Carlton M. Hadden, director of OFO. “The Digest of EEO Law is a great resource for the federal sector EEO community. We welcome your comments or suggestions for future topics by emailing us at ofo.eeoc@eeoc.gov.”

The digest is available online here.

NonHispanics Blocked From Jobs With California Company, EEOC Charges in New Title VII Lawsuit

Did a San Jose, Calif.-based company and its affiliates unfairly favor Hispanic job applicants over applicants of other races?

That’s what the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a Title VII lawsuit filed yesterday against Marquez Brothers International, Inc. and its affiliates.

The EEOC is charging that the defendants violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act when they failed to hire non-Hispanic applicants for entry-level positions because of their race.

According to the EEOC, the company and its affiliates favored less-qualified Hispanic job applicants over all other races (including black, white and Asian applicants) in unskilled positions.

EEOC further contends that Marquez Brothers discouraged non-Hispanic applicants from applying for open positions, asked applicants if they spoke Spanish even when speaking Spanish was not a job requirement, and otherwise deterred non-Hispanic applicants.

“Deterring applicants from applying because of their race flies in the face of federal law,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, whose jurisdiction includes Kings County.

Here’s the EEOC’s announcement of the lawsuit.

EEOC Comes to Aid of Truck Driver Shunned Because He Took Medication for Bipolar Disease

The lull over Thanksgiving week with no new lawsuits filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ended today as the agency announced it has sued a trucking company for allegedly refusing to hire a job applicant because of his bipolar disorder.

According to the EEOC, Stevens Transport violated the Americans With Disabilities Act in its denial of employment to Bill Brown, a U.S. Air Force Veteran.

The lawsuit charges that Stevens, the largest refrigerated trucking company in Texas and one of the top four largest temperature-controlled carriers in the United States, told  Brown that he could not be hired as a truck driver for Stevens “per company policy” because of the medication he takes to control his bipolar disorder.

Brown presented a report from his medical provider indicating that he was safe to drive, but the physician with whom the company contracted to do medical examinations told him he could not be hired while on those medications.

However, there are no U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations prohibiting people on these medications from commercial truck driving, and Brown had completed an advanced truck driver training course and passed the DOT physical that is required to hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL). However, despite Brown’s qualifications to perform the job safely, Stevens refused to hire him, EEOC said.

Here’s the lawsuit in a nutshell: “The trucking company unlawfully refused to hire this qualified candidate, disregarding his physical exam results, his completion of training, his CDL and the positive report from his medical provider,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino. “The company put up an unnecessary roadblock to Mr. Brown’s employment by discounting his skills and abilities as a driver when it turned him away.”

For more on the lawsuit, go here.

And for answers to common questions on how the ADA protects job applicants, click here.