- In fiscal year 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 84,254 workplace discrimination charges, it has announced. It resolved 99,109 charges, however, reducing its charge backlog by 16% to 61,621 — the lowest level of inventory in ten years, it says.
- EEOC said the reduction in charge inventory was accomplished by more efficiently "prioritiz[ing] charges with merit," more quickly resolving charges and improving digital systems.
- The agency also says it collected $398 million for workers nationwide though both settlements and litigation in FY 2017. Half of new charges received included retaliation claims, the agency said; 34% of charges included race discrimination claims, followed by disability and then sex discrimination.
EEOC regularly receives more charges than it can resolve in a year and lawmakers have, in recent years, criticized the agency for failing to prioritize backlog reduction efforts.
The criticism has come both in hearings and in legislation; an appropriations bill from last year, for example, included a rider that would have prohibited the EEOC from collecting pay data on the EEO-1 report and instead would have directed it to prioritize inventory reduction.
The White House eventually stepped in to block the EEO-1 pay data reporting requirements for this year but the commission's acting chair also promised to make headway on the backlog — and she appears to be making good on that promise. The commission finished FY 2016 with 73,508 charges in its inventory which, at the time, was a three-year low.