Not even a slashed budget and a pared-down workforce could stop the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from having a record year.
As a result of sequestration, the EEOC furloughed its entire workforce for 40 hours, froze hiring, and reduced its budget for litigation, information technology, travel and contracts for services, among other things, according to a recent agency press release.
But HR’s favorite government entity still managed to obtain $372.1 million in monetary relief for victims of private sector workplace discrimination in the 2013 fiscal year — a new record. That number beat the previous year by a cool $6.7 million.
The EEOC received a total of 93,727 private sector charges of discrimination in FY 2013, a 6,000 charge decrease from the prior three fiscal years — but 2013 still comes in among the agency’s top five fiscal years.
In its recently filed annual Performance and Accountability Report, the agency said a total of 97,252 charges were resolved, nearly 14,000 fewer than in FY 2012, likely due to the decline in staffing and resources the agency faced in FY 2013, including the impact from furloughs. At the end of the fiscal year, the pending inventory stood at 70,781. The average time for the enforcement staff to investigate and bring charges to resolution was, however, reduced by 21 days to 267 days, the agency said.
The EEOC is still sticking with its 2012-2016 Strategic Plan, which involves prioritizing fewer bigger-name cases over smaller lawsuits. At the end of the fiscal year, there were 300 systemic investigations resulting in 63 settlements or conciliation agreements that recovered approximately $40 million. Systemic suits comprised 16% of all merits filings, and by the end of the year, represented 23.4% of all active merit suits – the largest proportion since tracking started in fiscal year 2006.
The agency reported prioritizing systemic enforcement, expanding education and outreach, and improving customer service. The EEOC’s outreach programs reached more than 280,000 people during the year through participation in more than 3,800 no-cost educational, training and outreach events, and the Training Institute trained over 17,000 individuals at more than 370 events.
A breakdown of types of bias claims filed in FY 2013 is expected to be released shortly. We’ll keep you posted.