According to preliminary data, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed 143 new employment discrimination lawsuits in fiscal year 2023, representing more than a 50% increase over fiscal year 2022 suit filings.
The fiscal year 2023 suit filings include 25 systemic lawsuits, almost double the number filed in each of the past three fiscal years and the largest number of systemic filings in the past five years. Also, the EEOC filed 32 non-systemic class suits seeking relief for multiple harmed parties and 86 suits seeking relief for individuals.
The cases filed by the EEOC challenge workplace discrimination under all of the statutes enforced by the Commission and represent a broad array of issues, including barriers in recruitment and hiring, protecting vulnerable workers and persons from underserved communities, qualification standards and inflexible policies that discriminate against individuals with disabilities, the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, advancing equal pay, combatting unlawful harassment, and preserving access to the legal system. By focusing on the full range of employment discrimination issues affecting today’s workers, the agency’s suit filings demonstrate the significance of the agency’s recently updated Strategic Enforcement Plan.
“The EEOC was created as a result of an enduring national commitment to protecting civil rights, and the agency’s work helps fulfill the promise of justice and equality for America’s workers,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “The EEOC’s litigation program is an important tool to ensure compliance with the nation’s anti-discrimination laws and promote equal employment opportunity when the Commission is unable to obtain voluntary compliance.”
Applicants, employees and former employees are protected from employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, hair, or gender identity ), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, genetic information (including family medical history), military status, or age.