On February 4, 2015, the EEOC released certain data pertaining to the charges of discrimination filed by employees in fiscal year 2014. According to that data, nearly 89,000 charges of discrimination were filed with the EEOC in fiscal year 2014, the lowest number since 2007. But, importantly, retaliation claims under all EEOC-enforced statutes made up nearly 43% of all charges, representing the highest percentage of charges ever.
The fact that retaliation claims are the most prevalent allegation in charges of discrimination filed with the EEOC should come as no surprise. Retaliation was the most frequently cited basis for discrimination in 2013 as well, though representing a lower percentage of filed charges. And it has been the most common allegation for several years.
Notably, the EEOC updated data tables also revealed that Texas saw more charges of discrimination filed than any other state.
Recognizing the prevalence of retaliation claims, employers should be diligent and cautious in responding to allegations of discrimination or harassment. The manner in which an employer handles an employee complaint may be crucial in determining whether it faces potential liability for retaliation.