• Robin Carlin, Rustbelt HR

EEOC Releases FY2016 Data

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its data regarding charges filed during FY2016. In brief, more than 91,000 workplace discrimination charges were filed in FY2016. The EEOC resolved 97,443 charges resulting in $482 million in settlements. Collectively, the EEOC received nearly 600,000 phone calls in a single year.

Below represents the breakdown of workplace discrimination charges filed during FY2016:

42,018 Retaliation

32,309 Race

28,073 Disability

26,934 Sex

20,857 Age

9,840 National Origin

3,825 Religion

3,102 Color

1,650 LGBT

238 GINA

Some of the above charges allege multiple bases.

Employers should be careful to protect themselves against workplace discrimination charges. Five key areas to evaluate include:

1. Create a hiring process and be consistent. This includes having a template for interview questions and making sure your hiring team knows what to ask, what not to ask and why.

2. Focus on job-related criteria. Job descriptions are useful in the pre-employment process, performance process and employee development, as well as in termination cases for failure to perform.

3. Ensure your compensation practices are defensible and related to the work being performed. This includes making sure you handle pay requests consistently and fairly.

4. Be cautious about written communication. Any time you send an email or write notes on an employee, remember it could be discoverable and could be misinterpreted.

5. Have another person review your termination decisions before taking action. This will not only prevent knee-jerk reactions regarding an employee, but also will allow you an additional perspective to make sure your decision is well-reasoned and defensible.

Always remember that one of the best steps you can take is to educate yourself and your managers.

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