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Statistics Show Age Bias and Disability Discrimination Charges on the Rise

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that it has released comprehensive enforcement and litigation statistics for Fiscal Year 2001 (October 1, 2000, through September 30, 2001). According to the new data, posted online at, total discrimination charges filed against private employers increased one percent from the previous year to 80,840 - the highest level since the mid-1990s.

The types of discrimination with the highest rate of increase in FY 2001, compared to the prior year, were allegations of discrimination based on age (one and one-half percentage point increase) and disability (one-half percentage point increase). All other types of charge filings either declined slightly (less than one-half percentage point) or remained level compared to FY 2000.

"The incidence rate of age and disability discrimination appears to be on the rise with the graying of America," said EEOC Chair Cari M. Dominguez. "Employers must be vigilant in preventing such characteristics from being factored into their employment decisions."

In addition to the rise in workplace bias filings, the FY 2001 data also show:

  • The private sector pending inventory of charges (backlog) decreased by five percent from the previous year to 32,481 - the lowest level in nearly two decades.
  • The average charge processing time for private sector charge filings stood at 182 days - a 34-day decline from FY 2000 and the lowest level since the early 1980s.
  • The average time to resolve a charge through voluntary mediation was 84 days - a drop of 12 days from the prior year.
  • The merit factor rate (charges with meritorious allegations and/or outcomes favorable to the charging party) increased to 22 percent - the highest level since the early 1980s.

Of the 80,840 total charges (1) filed with EEOC, the most frequent types of discrimination alleged were based on:

  • Race - 28,912 or 35.8 percent of all charge filings.
  • Sex/Gender - 25,140 or 31.1 percent of all filings.
  • Retaliation (all statutes) - 22,257 or 27.5 percent of all filings.
  • Age - 17,405 or 21.5 percent of all filings.
  • Disability - 16,470 or 20.4 percent of all filings.

Other types of charge filings included allegations based on:

  • National Origin - 8,025 or 9.9 percent of all filings.
  • Religion - 2,127 or 2.6 percent of all filings.
  • Equal Pay - 1,251 or 1.5 percent of all filings.

EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Equal Pay Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; prohibitions against discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal government; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Further information about the Commission is available on its Web site at

1. The number of total charges (80,840) reflects the number of individual charge filings with EEOC against private employers and state and local governments. Specific types of alleged discrimination and their percentages of total charges add up to more than 100% because multiple types of discrimination are often alleged in individual charges.