In 2016, the EEOC filed 34% fewer lawsuits than it filed in 2015, and there were drastic declines in some areas, notably an 85.7% decline in age discrimination lawsuits.
This is not good news for victims of discrimination in employment. Without the gravity and resources of the EEOC behind them, many individual discrimination victims are puny “Davids” facing international corporate “Goliaths.”
It appears the steep litigation decline – from 174 lawsuits in 2015 to 114 in 2016 – is the result of the EEOC’s new emphasis on resolving individual complaints through voluntary mediation. However, mediation is a far better deal for employers than workers. For employers, mediation is a form of free dispute resolution that gets the EEOC off their back and eliminates the risk of massive damages and fees in a jury trial. For workers, mediation generally results in a modest financial settlement at best.
Many workers, especially those without counsel, do not fully understand their rights and the employer’s potential liability, or they cannot realistically fight for their rights because they have no money to wage a protracted court battle.
Mediation is a far better deal for discriminatory employers than it is for discrimination victims.
Here are the types and number of lawsuits filed by the EEOC in 2016 compared to 2015 and the percentage increase/decrease.
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; Two lawsuits in 2016, compared to 14 in 2015 (a decrease of 85.7%).
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (race, sex, religion, color and national origin): 46 lawsuits in 2016 compared to 83 in 2015 (a decrease of 44.5%).
- Americans with Disability Act: 36 lawsuits in 2016 compared to 53 in 2015 (a decrease of 32%).
- Equal Pay Act: Five lawsuits in 2016 compared to 7 in 2015 (a decrease of 28%).
- Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act Two lawsuits in 2016 compared to one in 2015 (an increase of 50%).