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What happens to discrimination claims filed with the EEOC?

by | Apr 2, 2020 | Employment Law

There are many protections in place that defend your rights in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a government institution that upholds federal laws which make it illegal to discriminate against job applicants and employees in the workplace. Under U.S. regulations, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee for their:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ancestry
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Retaliation

However, when discrimination does occur in the workplace, often the first step a person takes is filing a claim with the EEOC, who have the authority to investigate the allegations. But what becomes of a discrimination case after you report your claim to the government?

No relief for the majority

There were more than 1 million workplace discrimination cases filed with federal agencies between 2010 and 2017. Of those million cases, the agency had closed 93% by 2018. But “closed” doesn’t necessarily mean resolved.

Of all the cases, only 18% received any relief from their employer. Relief can come in the form of compensation through a settlement or court action, or changes to the workplace conditions.

In fact, the results of nearly two-thirds of all cases were “no cause,” meaning the agency could not determine if discrimination occurred, or that the allegations were not covered by discrimination laws.

Who did receive relief?

Surprisingly, the EEOC was only able to determine that discrimination occurred – or “reasonable cause” – in less than 2% of all cases. Still, only half of these cases received any relief from their employers. The most frequent types of alleged discrimination cases that did get relief included:

  • Cancer
  • Pregnancy
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorder
  • Religious discrimination against 7th Day Adventists

While the EEOC is a good place to start if you’ve experienced workplace discrimination, it isn’t your only option. Regardless of the agency’s findings, you can still take your case to court if your employer has violated your workplace rights