Co-authored by Christopher J. DeGroff and Brandon L. Spurlock

The EEOC just published its FY 2010 statistics. Its FY 2010 Performance and Accountability Report is dated November 15, and was posted on line at the EEOC’s website this week. View Report.

The EEOC report demonstrates that more employment discrimination charges are being filed against employers. The EEOC had the highest number of discrimination charges filed in FY 2010 than ever before in its history – 99,922 charges, which was an increase over the levels in 2008 and 2009, which were the highest levels ever since the EEOC’s establishment in 1964. The EEOC brought 250 new lawsuits in 2010, and resolved 285 existing cases in 2010 for over $85 million. Overall, the EEOC recovered $319.3 million for allegedly injured parties, an increase of over $25.2 million over the previous year.  These across-the-board increases make good on the EEOC’s promises it made last year to reduce its charge backlog.  Acting Chairman Stuart Ishimaru noted in his message at the end of 2009 that the EEOC would address this backlog by “working smarter and harder” in 2010, and noted that this is “just the start.”  View Message.

 The EEOC Report also underscores the new focus and direction of the EEOC relative to class-wide, systemic charges and claims. The EEOC’s docket of “systemic” class-wide investigations has increased dramatically. For example, there were 39 Commissioner’s charges being investigated, compared with 15 Commissioner’s charges in April 2006, the month before the EEOC established its systemic discrimination program.  In addition, the EEOC’s docket of systemic, pattern or practice cases more than doubled over the prior year – with 60 active pattern or practice cases. Most tellingly, the EEOC now has a current docket of 465 active systemic investigations and hired 39 new investigators in 2010. Clearly, the Commission is gearing up for more enforcement.

The bottom line is that there are more employment discrimination charges being filed, which necessarily will lead to more employment discrimination lawsuits; in addition, the EEOC is gearing up with more personnel and a focus on systemic “big case” investigations against employers, and while 2010 had more such systemic cases brought than ever before, employers can expect even more in 2011.