According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s annual Performance and Accountability Report (PAR), the EEOC filed more than double the number of discrimination lawsuits against employers in FY 2017 than in F^2016. The Agency filed 184 lawsuits in FY 2017 as compared to only 86 in FY 2016. Thirty of these 184 cases involved allegations of systemic discrimination. EEOC also increased to 24.8% the number of systemic cases on its active litigation docket in FY 2017, thereby achieving its goal of reaching 22-24% by FY 2018. In total, in FY 2017 the Agency secured approximately $484 million for alleged victims of discrimination, an increase from approximately $482 million in FY 2016. At the same time, individual charges of discrimination filed with the Agency numbered 84,252 in FY 2017, down by approximately 7,000 from FY 2016. This marks a change from the recent multi-year trend of increasing numbers of charges filed. The Agency also reduced its backlog of pending charges by 16% in FY 2017.
While it remains to be seen what impact President Trump’s appointees to the EEOC will have on these trends in FY 2018, the PAR shows that at present the EEOC continues its focus on systemic based discrimination and will aggressively seek enforcement of such claims via federal court litigation. In addition, it remains unclear if the lower number of charges filed is an anomaly or will continue in future years.