This week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released statistics about the employment discrimination complaints that it received during fiscal year 2012, giving us a picture here in Florida of the rights violations that workers are up against. The fiscal year lasts from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

While the EEOC reports that it took in almost 100,000 complaints about job bias or workplace discrimination, this is slightly down from 2011 and that may be a positive sign. Retaliation, race discrimination and sex discrimination were the most commonly filed complaints.

Another good sign is that the EEOC was able to obtain its largest recovery ever from both private and public sector employers that it held accountable for workplace discrimination complaints. In total, it obtained $365.4 million.

The EEOC also made strides when it came to eliminating patterns of discrimination in the workplace, which has been one of its focus areas. The agency reportedly completed about 240 workplace investigations on systemic patterns of discrimination, ultimately resulting in almost 50 settlements or agreements. In total, these settlements resulted in more than $36 million for victims of workplace discrimination.

While it is great to see that the EEOC is continuing to stand up for workers’ rights and help them obtain damages, this is also a major reminder of a significant existence of workplace discrimination throughout the country. Workplace discrimination is illegal in just about every form, but yet it continues to manifest in hiring, firing and the daily work environment.

It is important for victims of race discrimination, sex discrimination, national origin discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, disability discrimination, and a number of other types of discrimination to continue to come forward and report these violations. Doing so provides a way for the victim to seek compensation for damages, as well as a way for the employer to be held responsible and to be forced to implement changes.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “EEOC Reports Nearly 100,000 Job Bias Charges in Fiscal Year 2012,” Jan. 28, 2013

  • To learn more about your employment rights, please visit our Broward County employment law firm’s Discrimination page.