While charges of employment discrimination against employers are declining overall, claims alleging retaliation against an employee for involvement in a complaint reached a record high in fiscal year 2014.

According to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) review of the charges it receives, the percentage alleging retaliation reached its highest amount ever: 42.8 percent.

The EEOC released fiscal year 2014 private sector data tables providing detailed breakdowns for the 88778 charges of workplace discrimination the agency received. The fiscal year ran from Oct. 1 2013, to Sep. 30, 2014

The following are the top 10 categories of charges filed with the EEOC:

  1. Retaliation under all statutes: 37,955 (42.8 percent of all charges filed)
  2. Race (Including racial harassment): 31,073 (35 percent)
  3. Sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment) : 26,027 (29.3 percent)
  4. Disability: 25,369 ( 28.6 percent)
  5. Age: 20,588 (23.2 percent)
  6. National Origin: 9,579 (10.8 percent)
  7. Religion: 3,549 (4.0 percent)
  8. Color: 2,756 (3.1 percent)
  9. Equal Pay Act: 989 (1.1 percent)
  10. Genetic Information  Non-Discrimination Act: 333 (0.4 percent)

Discharge continues to be the most common issue for all bases under VII (Which bars job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origins), the age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the American with Disability Act (ADA).

Allegations of harassment for all bases were the next most frequently cited issue, with the exception of race.  For the basis of race, discriminatory terms and conditions of employment was the second most frequently cited issue (9,332) with harassment being the third (9,023).

Arbitrating, settling or defending an employment practices case- regardless of its merit can easily result in five or six figure costs to the business.  In fiscal year 2014 the EEOC reposts it obtained $296.1 million in total monetary relief through its enforcement program prior to the filling of litigation.

What can you do to protect yourself and your business?

  • Educated yourself and your employees on ethics in the workplace. 
  • Host an annual meeting specific to this topic and document employee attendance. 
  • Include a code of ethics in your employment agreements.
  • Document employee reviews and if there is an employee infraction include a 3rd party in your conversation.

Employers liability insurance (EPLI) is available on many business owners policies or as a stand- alone coverage.  In addition to protecting yourself against employee claims, you can also purchase and extended coverage that would protect you from 3rd parties such as customers, suppliers or tenants.

 

 

 

This article was prepared by Stacey A Scott Insurance Agency Inc/Madison Avenue Insurance Group 14522 NE North Woodinville Way, Ste. 205 Woodinville WA 98072 (425) 481-1430 www.madisonavesins.com  Information for this article was obtained from the Insurance Journal January