The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



Five-Year Study Shows High Success Rate for Commission Lawsuits, Trials and Appeals

WASHINGTON - Approximately 91% of federal employment discrimination lawsuits by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are successfully resolved through Consent Decrees, settlement agreements, and favorable court orders, according to an extensive five-year litigation study released today by the EEOC. The report, covering Fiscal Years 1997 through 2001 (October 1, 1996 - September 30, 2001), will be available shortly on the Agency's web site at

In addition to the 90.72 percentage rate of successful litigation resolutions over the five-year period, the study shows that the EEOC's success rate in trials is 60.24% - compared to a success rate of 26.8% for private plaintiffs in workplace bias suits - and the Agency's success rate is 80% in the appeal of trials - compared to a 16% rate of success for private bar attorneys.

"EEOC litigation is a highly effective tool to remedy employment discrimination when the Agency exhausts its conciliation efforts to reach voluntary settlements with employers," said Commission Chair Cari M. Dominguez. "The EEOC must make the greatest impact possible in the workplace using all the resources at its disposal. While proactive prevention of discrimination is our first priority, we will not hesitate to utilize litigation when necessary and appropriate."

She added: "Our high success rate reflects the care and selectivity with which we choose our actions to advance the public's interest. At the same time, we must vigorously pursue the types of egregious discrimination cases that have historically accounted for a large part of our workload."

Chair Dominguez requested the litigation study by the EEOC's Office of General Counsel in order to examine the success of the Commission's litigation program as part of her efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of overall Agency operations. The Commission evaluates litigation success by injunctive relief - court orders immediately stopping discriminatory practices; remedial relief for victims, including jobs, backpay, and other benefits; and changes to discriminatory policies and practices by employers.

Other key points of the study show that over the five-year period:

"EEOC attorneys in all of our offices have worked hard to accomplish impressive litigation results," said Nicholas M. Inzeo, Acting Deputy General Counsel, who is in charge of day-to-day litigation operations until a General Counsel is nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. "From regional attorneys, to appellate attorneys, to trial attorneys, the Agency's litigation team deserves accolades for a job well done." Inzeo noted that the attorneys in the Office of General Counsel also provide important non-litigation enforcement assistance to Agency investigators.

According to preliminary litigation data through the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2002 (October 1, 2001 - June 30, 2002), the EEOC has filed a total of 168 lawsuits (direct suits and interventions, and subpoena enforcement and other actions). The total number of suits filed includes 52 class cases (those involving multiple parties or victims). The Agency has obtained $26.6 million in monetary benefits for victims of discrimination through the litigation program.

The EEOC is the federal agency responsible for enforcing the federal statutes which prohibit employment discrimination, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, or religion; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits job discrimination in the private sector and state and local governments based on the existence or perception of a disability; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against persons age 40 and over; and the Equal Pay Act (EPA), which prohibits wage discrimination based on sex. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at

This page was last modified on March 13, 2002.

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