Labor Law Guy

Many Companies Suddenly Facing First-Ever EEOC Claims

Posted in Federal Labor Law by laborlawguy on November 3, 2009

With unemployment soaring and the job marketing languishing in the doldrums, laid-off and even currently working employees are turning to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) for redress of wrongs, real or imagined.

Many companies are reporting their first-ever EEOC complaints springing from allegations of various forms of discrimination, usually in the workforce reduction process.

No statistics exist yet for 2009, but for 2008 overall EEOC claims jumped 28 percent from 83,000 to 95,000. Discrimination claims were likewise up by 28 percent, while retaliation claims jumped 22 percent. Retaliation, employment lawyers say, is the new lawsuit du jour.

Employees are no longer waiting for the proverbial axe to fall before filing EEOC complaints. Some are using EEOC claims as a pre-emptive strike to avoid being laid off. As one lawyer explained: “If I’m causing a fuss about something, you won’t pick me to lay off…and, if I am let go, then I’ll claim retaliation.”

The EEOC is more than happy to oblige the claimants. The agency this year has already hired 170 new field investigators to check out the claims.

‘Tis the season of “employer, beware.”

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