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Select Task Force Meeting of June 15, 2015 - Workplace Harassment: Examining the Scope of the Problem and Potential Solutions 

Testimony of Ron Edwards, Director, Program Research and Surveys Division, Office of Research, Information and Planning, EEOC

(Note: This testimony has an accompanying PowerPoint presentation, also available in an accessible HTML version.)

IMS PROCESS

IMS was initially designed as a system for creating charge related documents and tracking these charges. It has also been utilized for research efforts both by EEOC and academic researchers.  Basic data is entered during the initial receipt of the charge.  This includes information about the allegations, the charging party and the Respondent.  During this initial stage, efforts are also made to link the charge to EEO-1 reports in order to get a consistent identification of the employer. As the investigation proceeds, actions are added to enable the tracking of the charge.

Question:  How many charges of harassment did we receive in the private sector over the past five years, broken down by year?  (All harassment charges)

Question:  How many charges of harassment did we receive on each basis:  age, sex, national origin, race, disability, religion, other?  Again, over the past five years and then broken by year

EEOC Harassment Charges FY 2010 - FY 2014

The number of harassment charges is provided in Table 1.  The table counts charges filed under each category not allegations.  A single charge may be counted under multiple categories.  Table 1 also provides a breakout of harassment charges associated with a retaliation charge and  the underlying statute.  Underlying statute is particularly important for charges on the basis of disabilities.  More detailed information about those types of harassment charges is also provided below.

TABLE 1: EEOC Harassment Charges FY 2010- FY 2014
  FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 Cumulative Rate Of Change

TOTAL**

27,356

27,270

26,777

26,756

26,820

134,979

-1.96

  Race

8,798

9,010

8,587

8,693

9,023

44,111

2.56

  Sex

12,695

12,461

12,569

12,379

12,146

62,250

-4.32

  National Origin

3,643

4,029

3,588

3,513

3,446

18,219

-5.41

  Religion

1,362

1,691

1,347

1,290

1,344

7,034

-1.32

  Color

895

961

928

934

1,056

4,774

17.99

  Retaliation (ALL Statutes)

10,288

10,759

10,733

10,966

11,518

54,264

11.96

  ADEA

3,780

3,660

3,787

4,023

4,157

19,407

9.97

  ADA

4,119

4,139

4,391

4,529

4,848

22,026

17.70

  EPA

79

52

59

65

112

367

41.77

  GINA

22

45

36

92

76

271

245.45

Table 2 provides more detailed information about harassment charges on the basis of a disability.  Only those disabilities with a highest number of charges are included here.  As discussed below those disabilities that might be considered as behavioral appear to be well represented here.

TABLE 2:  EEOC Harassment Charges FY 2010- FY 2014 Based on Disability  

(For Those Disabilities with the Highest Number of Harassment Charges)

DISABILITY

FY2010

FY2011

FY2012

FY2013

FY2014

RATE OF CHANGE

Total Harassment Charges*

4,119

4,139

4,391

4,529

4,848

22,026

Retaliation

1501

1565

1744

1814

2056

36.98%

Other Disability

880

991

1172

1218

1338

52.05%

Regarded As Disabled

448

441

442

458

514

14.73%

Other Anxiety Disorder

333

354

384

398

485

45.65%

Depression

388

402

362

394

437

12.63%

Nonparalytic Orthopedic Impairment

296

291

341

329

359

21.28%

Record Of Disability

253

262

258

273

356

40.71%

Orthopedic/Structural Back Impairment

333

312

309

304

348

4.50%

For those interested in getting more data on charges filed by disability, you may want to visit Cornell's website (http://www.disabilitystatistics.org/eeoc).  See Figure 1.

Figure 1 - Screen shot of website

Figure 1

Question 3:  Are there any trends?  Any hypotheses for why these trends exist?

If we measure trends in terms of simple rates of change from 2010 to 2014, we note that there is a decrease in harassment charges from FY 2010 to FY 2014 (rate of change) overall (1.96 percent) with respect to all charges overall based on Religion ( 1.32 percent), Gender (4.32 percent) and National Origin (5.41 percent).  On the other hand, the rate of change increased from 2010 to 2014, for charges based on 2010 to 2014, Race (2.56 percent) Age/ADEA ( 9.97 percent), Retaliation (11.96 percent), Disability or ADA (17.70 percent), Color (17.99 percent) and under the EPA (41.77 percent).

However, these trends do not appear to be simple linear changes. For example, race-based charges of harassment decline from 2011 until 2012 and then display a sharp increase.  See Figure 2.

Figure 2 - Chart of race-based harassment charges

Harassment Charges -- Race
  FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014
  Race 8,798 9,010 8,587 8,693 9,023

Figure 2

Gender-based harassment charges, on the other hand, show a fairly constant decline.  See Figure 3.

Figure 3 - Chart of gender-based harassment charges

Harassment Charges -- Gender
  FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014
  Gender 12,695 12,461 12,569 12,379 12,146

Figure 3

Question 4:    What percentage of our litigation docket involves harassment claims?

Table 3 shows that the number of cases filed where harassment was an issue dropped after fiscal year 2010 as did the percent of those cases. However, the was an increase in fiscal year 2014.

TABLE 3:  EEOC Harassment* Cases Filed

FISCAL YEAR

# Harassment Cases Filed

% Harassment Cases Filed

2010

99

39.60%

2011

88

33.70%

2012

22

18.00%

2013

27

20.60%

2014

35

26.30%

*Includes cases where harassment and/or sexual harassment are alleged.

Question 5:  Have we learned anything about harassment from the researchers with whom we share our data?

Some relevant findings follow.

  • People with physical impairments appear to have lower harassment allegation rates than people with behavioral disabilities. - Shaw, L. R., Chan, F., & McMahon, B. T. (2012)
  • Women, minorities, and people with behavioral disabilities are more likely to file harassment charges. Educational Services or Public Administration were found to be more likely to file harassment charges than employees who work for other types of business and industry. Companies with 500+ employees were more likely to have harassment lawsuits. - Shaw, L. R., Chan, F., McMahon, B. T., & Kim, J. H. (2012)
  • Harassment was the second highest type of injury/issue (under firing) in EEOC age discrimination suits in 2013 - Vincent Roscigno Ohio State University (2014)
  • Managerial awareness of disability practices and understanding of how, when, and why they need to be used is low. This may influence experiences of harassment for people with disabilities. - Lisa H. Nishii, PhD & Susanne M. Bruvere, PhD, Cornell University (2015)

Question 6:  Do you have any suggestions for further research?

  • ORIP'S draft Research and Data Plan proposes that ORIP will produce a demographic profile based on Census data to identify concentrations of immigrant workers and a set of EEO-1 reports for each District to identify the most prevalent industries of workers with broad racial and ethnic profiles believed to be vulnerable to discrimination, such as Hispanic women in crop production. ORIP will also explore the possibility of identifying concentrations of workers with disabilities by industry and geography.