November 16, 2021
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Agency Rebuilds to Prioritize Tackling Systemic Discrimination and Addressing COVID-19
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) detailed its financial management and provided an overview of performance results Nov. 15, in its Fiscal Year 2021 Agency Financial Report (AFR).
Overall, the EEOC had a successful year, with recoveries in line with historical levels despite the pandemic. For the $404.5 million appropriated for EEOC operations, the agency recovered more than $484 million which went directly to victims of discrimination, changed discriminatory practices across American workplaces, and helped prevent discrimination through outreach and education.
Also, for the 17th consecutive year, the agency received an unmodified opinion from independent auditors, reflecting the EEOC’s sound financial management and internal controls.
For the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2021, the EEOC prioritized rebuilding and strengthening the agency and renewed its focus on tackling systemic discrimination in the workplace, including promoting racial justice and equity, preventing and remedying discrimination in pay, and addressing the civil rights impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the public and private sectors.
“The EEOC was created in 1965 as a result of a strong national commitment to civil rights and serves as tangible proof that the causes of justice and equality are greater than hatred, division and bigotry,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “Promoting equal employment opportunity and enforcing the nation’s federal workplace anti-discrimination laws remain as necessary as ever.”
Despite the challenges the pandemic created, the agency made significant progress toward rebuilding its capacity and conducted outreach, technical assistance, and enforcement, reaching levels in line with those in pre-pandemic years. Most significantly, after hitting the lowest staffing levels since at least 1980, the EEOC filled approximately 450 positions in the last six months of the fiscal year. These positions were mostly for front-line staff such as investigators, mediators, attorneys, and equal employment specialists.
“The addition of new employees in mission-critical positions is a down payment on what I hope will be a long-term investment to ensure that the EEOC has resources commensurate with its task,” Burrows said. “It is important to maintain our capacity as we rebuild the economy to confront the urgent issue of systemic discrimination and work toward an America where all have a fair chance to work, provide for their families, and contribute to our economy.”
EEOC accomplishments include:
- Filling approximately 450 primarily front-line staff positions and ending the year with more than 2,100 employees on board.
- Conducting more than 2,300 outreach events, including over 300 COVID-19 related events, and providing nearly 255,000 individuals nationwide with information about employment discrimination and their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.
- Holding its first-ever public hearing by video conference watched by over 2,000 members of the public, addressing the civil rights impacts of COVID-19 in the workplace, and issuing new and updated technical assistance regarding COVID-19, vaccinations, and reasonable accommodations.
Investigations and Litigation
- Securing more than $350 million and other relief for victims of employment discrimination in private sector and state and local government workplaces through mediation, conciliation, and settlements benefiting thousands of individuals.
- Resolving 138 lawsuits and obtaining $34 million in monetary relief as a direct result of litigation resolutions, including 21 lawsuits alleging race or national origin discrimination for approximately $15 million and 10 compensation discrimination cases for approximately $1 million.
- Resolving more than 26 systemic lawsuits and over 340 systemic investigations on the merits and obtaining over $46 million in benefits for individuals.
- Obtaining more than $100 million for federal employees and applicants.
- Reducing the federal sector hearings pending inventory for the fourth consecutive year, achieving a reduction of 6% in fiscal year 2021.
- Conducting nearly 400 federal sector outreach events.
Comprehensive enforcement and litigation statistics for fiscal year 2021 are expected to be released in early 2022.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.