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EEOC data shows discrimination was still a big problem in 2015

For anyone who doubts that workplace discrimination is still a problem in the United States, the proof is in the data. During fiscal year 2015, some 89,385 complaints were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The number of discrimination claims is even higher if you consider those filed with state agencies.

In today's post we'll share some of the EEOC's 2015 statistics. We'll also discuss the troubling fact that many of these complaints also included allegations of employer retaliation.

According to EEOC data, here is the breakdown of specific claims made in the more than 89,000 complaints:

  • Race discrimination: 34.7 percent of claims
  • Disability discrimination and ADA violations: 30.2 percent
  • Gender/sex discrimination: 29.5 percent
  • Age discrimination: 22.5 percent
  • National origin discrimination: 10.6 percent
  • Religious discrimination: 3.9 percent
  • Color discrimination: 3.2 percent
  • Violations of the Equal Pay Act: 1.1 percent

The numbers don’t add up to 100 percent, but that's because complaints often include more than one type of allegation. In fact, for the second year in a row, allegations of retaliation topped the list. Approximately 44.5 percent of complaints also alleged retaliation.

This statistic makes sense when you consider how many discrimination cases tend to proceed. Let's say that a female employee complains to human resources that she is consistently being passed over for promotions, which are instead going to less-qualified male candidates.

Once that complaint has been filed, her supervisors may retaliate by demoting her, giving her uncharacteristically bad performance reviews and perhaps even firing her. What was originally a gender discrimination charge has expanded to include retaliation and wrongful termination.

It is simply unacceptable that in 2015, a federal agency would be receiving more than 89,000 complaints about workplace discrimination. This is especially appalling when you consider that the anti-discrimination laws being violated have been on the books for decades. Sadly, workplace discrimination and harassment are still a major problem, and we have the statistics to prove it.

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation and don't know what to do next, please seek the help of an experienced employment law attorney.

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