Focus on New Strategies and Technology Lead to Lowest Inventory Level in 10 years
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) made significant progress in managing the pending inventory of charges in fiscal year 2017. 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.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.