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Employer retaliation cases are on the rise

by | Mar 31, 2021 | Employment Law

In many ways, the world moves faster these days. However, true data always takes time to collect and analyze.

As we enter the second quarter of 2021, we are beginning to see 2020 trends in numerical form. For employers, this includes figures from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the national commission to monitor workplace discrimination complaints.

What do the numbers say?

According to recently released data, retaliation is the leading violation among private sector, state and local workplaces. The commission defines retaliation as punishing an employee for asserting their rights. While the commission is associated with discrimination cases, its most common charge is for employer retaliation, including 55.8% of charges last year. In 2015, retaliation accounted for 44.5%, showing a significant increase in the last five years.

Disability, race, and sex discrimination cases also rank among the leading complaints. Any form of discrimination that violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 can be reviewed by the EEOC, which also includes allegations concerning country of origin, religion and more.

A single complaint can include multiple infractions

Any allegation of workplace discrimination is cause for concern. Additionally, these are complex cases that often violate the law in multiple ways. A close look at the percentages highlights this. If a person adds up the percentages in the EEOC data, the total is greater than 100%. This is because many cases include multiple infractions. A retaliation case, for example, may also include disability or age discrimination.

Discrimination complaints are not just bad for employee morale and company reputation. They are a major expense. The report notes that last year’s complaints resulted in $439.2 million in settlements, paid through voluntary agreements or litigation.

A workforce is both an asset and a liability

Data collected, not only in 2020, but in recent years highlights the importance of clear employment policies and precise termination procedures. Managers must use caution and adhere to all laws.

The trend in retaliation cases, which now comprises more than half of EEOC charges, shows that mistreated employees will stand up for their rights. A poorly executed termination or a wayward manager often costs a company more money in the end.