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Race and Sex Discrimination, Retaliation Most Frequently Filed Cases

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last year received a total of 75,768 discrimination charges against private sector employers, the first increase in charge filings since 2002, the federal agency reported today as part of its Fiscal Year 2006 data.

The year-end statistics, available online at, show that charges based on race (27,238), sex (23,247), and retaliation (22,555) were the most frequent allegations, as in past years. Other frequently cited charge bases were age (16,548), disability (15,575), national origin (8,327), and religion (2,541). Individuals may allege multiple types of discrimination in a single charge filing.

Additionally, 12,025 sexual harassment charges and a record 4,901 pregnancy discrimination charges were filed with the EEOC and with state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies combined. A record 15 percent of sexual harassment charges were filed by men.

“These figures tell us that discrimination remains a persistent problem in the 21st century workplace,” said EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp. “The Commission continues to work closely with our stakeholders to implement new strategies to stop discrimination before it starts. We are striking a vital balance between outreach and education on one hand, and enforcement and litigation on the other.”

The FY 2006 data also show that the EEOC:

  • Resolved 74,308 private sector charges, with a historically high merit factor rate of more than 22 percent (representing favorable outcomes for charging parties). A record 8,201 cases were resolved through voluntary mediation.
  • Conducted a record 5,628 outreach, education and technical assistance events nationwide, reaching more than 300,000 people. Approximately 1,000 events were held under the Youth@Work Initiative to promote positive first work experiences for young adults. Other national outreach efforts included the Freedom to Compete Initiative and the New Freedom Initiative, and programs focused on EEOC-enforced laws, mediation, and small business.
  • Recovered a total of approximately $274 million in monetary relief for charging parties: $44 million through litigation and $230 million through administrative enforcement, including mediation. Additionally, the agency obtained substantial non-monetary relief, such as employer training, policy implementation, reasonable accommodations, and other measures to promote discrimination-free workplaces.
  • Filed 371 merits lawsuits (direct suits, interventions and other enforcement actions), including 137 cases involving multiple aggrieved parties or victims of discriminatory policies. Significant injunctive and remedial relief was also achieved through litigation settlements, jury verdicts and court rulings.

“In 2006, the Commission made visible progress in advancing equal employment opportunity, yet much work remains,” Chair Earp said. “Our challenge in 2007 is to make the most effective and efficient use of agency resources to foster fair and inclusive work environments for all individuals.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Additional data and information are available on the agency’s web site at