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Retalition remains most common EEOC claim

According to recent data, New Yorkers filed fewer claims with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2017 than in recent years. New York was in line with the nation as overall claims were down slightly from 2016. Overall, the EEOC recovered $398 million for claimants in the fiscal year 2017, which is $84 million less than in 2016. The EEOC is in charge of administering and enforcing federal civil rights laws against workplace discrimination.

Unsurprisingly, retaliation remains the most commonly cited complaint in EEOC filings. Retaliation is a general claim that can apply whenever an employer retaliates against an employee for asserting specific rights and usually is accompanied by additional claims alleging discrimination or harassment based upon race, gender, religion, disability, age, or national origin. Forty-eight percent of all 2017 claims included at least one allegation of retaliation. The second most common claim was for race-based discrimination, which is also consistent with past years. In descending order, the other most frequently cited claims were for discrimination and/or harassment related to disability, gender, age, national origin and color. Allegations related to the Equal Pay Act made up just over 1 percent of all 2017 filings.

It remains to be seen what impact recent public awareness initiatives against sexual harassment will have on EEOC filings, and 2018 could see a spike in such claims. The agency has overlapping jurisdiction with state agencies regarding employment laws and typically has jurisdiction if an employer has at least 15 employees. Smaller employers are not exempt from civil rights regulations but instead fall under the umbrella of state agency regulation.

When an individual has been subjected to workplace harassment or discrimination, there are strict timelines and procedures that must be followed. An experienced employment law attorney may be able to provide someone with invaluable guidance in navigating any workplace claim for civil rights or other violations.

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