On February 4th, the EEOC released its annual data relating to charges filed in Financial Year 2014 (Oct 1, 2013-Sep. 30, 2014). This data relates to the private sector only. The big news from the data is the nationwide number of charges filed dropped to 88,778. Some of the drop was attributable to the federal government shutdown.
The greatest number of charges filed, as usual, was charges of workplace retaliation. These charges accounted for 42.8% of all charges filed, the highest number ever! Race discrimination was the second highest charge filed, 35%–steady with prior years. Out of the 88,778 charges filed, the EEOC filed only 133 lawsuits on the “merits” (cases where it found cause and decided to sue on the employee’s behalf). What that means is, the odds of the EEOC suing on your behalf are slim to none. Of course, that does not stop an employee from bringing civil suit himself or herself.
When breaking down South Carolina EEOC charges filed, there were 1,118 charges filed within our state. This was only slightly down from 1,168 charges filed in FY13. Our charges accounted for only 1.3% of the nationwide total of charges filed. The highest number of charges filed in South Carolina, like nationwide, were retaliation charges—483 filed in South Carolina.
What to make of all of this data? The decrease in EEOC charges filed nationwide is likely an indicator of the improving economy. I would expect that as the economy continues to improve, the number of charges filed will continue to decrease. Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in Nassar, retaliation claims still rule the day. Furthermore, don’t count your chickens on the EEOC bringing suit on your behalf. You will likely have to file suit yourself or hire a South Carolina employment law attorney to help you.