EEOC hired more investigators, filed 50% more lawsuits in FY 2023

Dive Brief:

  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed 143 new lawsuits during fiscal year 2023, a more than 50% increase from the previous year, according to a statement released Monday as part of the agency’s annual performance report.
  • EEOC also recovered a record $665 million for more than 22,000 victims of workplace discrimination in FY 2023, which covered Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023, per the release.
  • The agency received 81,055 new discrimination charges in FY 2023, 10% more than than the year before, and created 493 new positions — mostly investigators, investigative support assistants, mediators and attorneys — to help handle that load, EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows said in the report.

Dive Insight:

The agency focused on addressing systemic discrimination; workplace harassment; racial justice; retaliation; pay equity; and diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, as well as the use of technology, such as artificial intelligence, in employment decisions in FY 2023, Burrows said.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act went into effect June 27, giving expectant employees more protections not guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and EEOC started accepting charges the same day.

Of the new lawsuits filed in FY 2023, 17% were systemic cases, meaning the lawsuits involved either multiple victims or discriminatory policies, EEOC said. Meanwhile, the agency also resolved 370 systemic investigations on merit, recovering $29 million for workers, per the report.

But EEOC’s targeted enforcement doesn’t necessarily mean the U.S. is seeing more cases of discrimination in the workplace, Gerald Maatman, Jr., a partner with management-side law firm Duane Morris LLP, previously told HR Dive.

“Remember that the EEOC and the lawsuits it brings are a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of all the lawsuits brought for employment-related claims in the United States,” Maatman said. “It’s dangerous to draw a conclusion on what’s going on in the workplace, just based on that very small sample size of what the EEOC is suing over.”