1. Home
  2. Newsroom
Press Release


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


Fiscal Year 2002 Data Show Religion, Age and National Origin Bias Leading the Increase

WASHINGTON - Charge filings with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging employment discrimination in the private sector increased to 84,442 in Fiscal Year 2002 (which ended September 30), up 4.5% from the previous year, according to new data issued today by the federal civil rights enforcement agency. The statistics also show that the average time for EEOC to process a private sector charge declined to 171 days (down 6% from FY 2001) and the pending inventory of private sector charges awaiting investigation decreased to 29,041 (down 11% from FY 2001). The new statistics are available on the EEOC's web site at

"We are operating at the most efficient levels in the Commission's history to eradicate employment discrimination," said EEOC Chair Cari M. Dominguez. "We are resolving charges faster and more proficiently, while simultaneously enhancing public outreach and education to proactively prevent discrimination."

The Commission resolved 95,222 private sector charge filings in FY 2002 - up 6% from the previous year - and recovered a record total of $310.5 million in monetary benefits for charging parties through settlements, conciliation, mediation, and litigation. One out of every five charges filed with the agency resulted in a "merit resolution" with a favorable outcome for the charging party. The industries that generated the most charge activity include retail, food services, and manufacturing.

Chair Dominguez noted that expanded outreach and mediation were key priorities that contributed to the agency's success. During FY 2002, EEOC offices conducted more than 4,000 outreach, education, and technical assistance events nationwide to promote voluntary compliance - up 24% from FY 2001. Under the voluntary mediation program, the EEOC resolved a record-high 7,858 charges in an average time of 82 days - less than half the time it takes through the administrative process. "Voluntary mediation continues to play a vital role in resolving charges in an expeditious and non-adversarial manner to the benefit of all parties," she said. "We plan to build upon our mediation success in the current fiscal year and in the years to come."

Of the 84,442 charge filings with the EEOC in FY 2002, the biggest increases from the prior year were in allegations of religious discrimination (up 21%), age bias (14.5%), and national origin discrimination (up 13%). The total charge filings breakdown as follows:

  • 29,910 alleged race discrimination (up 3.5% from FY 2001)
  • 25,536 alleged sex/gender discrimination (up 1.6% from FY 2001)
  • 22,768 alleged retaliation (up 2% from FY 2001)
  • 19,921 alleged age discrimination (up 14.5% from FY 2001).
  • 15,964 alleged disability discrimination (down 3% from FY 2001)
  • 9,046 alleged national origin discrimination (up 13% from FY 2001)
  • 2,572 alleged religious discrimination (up 21% from FY 2001)
  • 1,256 alleged Equal Pay Act violations (unchanged from FY 2001)

(NOTE: Individuals may allege multiple types of discrimination in one charge filing.)

"While race discrimination led all charge filings in 2002, the year's largest increases occurred in the religion, age, and national origin charge categories," said Chair Dominguez.

"I urge employers to be diligent in rooting out discriminatory behavior that is morally and monetarily costly to our nation."

EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment or pregnancy) or national origin and protects employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects workers age 40 and older from discrimination based on age; the Equal Pay Act of 1963; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the federal sector; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Further information about the Commission is available on the agency's web site at

This page was last modified on February 6, 2003.