Some rather surprising data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the nation's top enforcer of anti-discrimination employment laws, has many wondering if workplace discrimination is on the rise, or is the EEOC targeting more resources to combating it, and on an increasingly larger scale?
The agency is cracking down on employers by focusing on cases involving large-scale bias at prominent corporations, such as Verizon and Yellow Freight, now YRC Worldwide Inc. If recent cases are any indication, it appears workplace discrimination is indeed still a big problem in Wisconsin and around the country.
Verizon Inc. settled an EEOC employment discrimination claim for $20 million after the EEOC alleged the company discriminated against disabled employees. After laying off hundreds of employees over 45-years of age, 3M was accused of age discrimination and settled charges for $3 million. Pepsi Beverages was accused of discriminating against more than 300 minorities and paid over $3 million to settle those allegations.
Granted the EEOC does not win every case it brings, but it is definitely trying to send a message to employers big and small that employment discrimination will not be tolerated. But with a 90 percent success rate, the EEOC is making a difference. Since 2006 the EEOC has increased the number of active investigations from 50 to almost 600 last year. Last year alone at least different 40 companies were accused of systemic employment discrimination by the EEOC and paid out more than $60 million in unfavorable judgments by the courts or through settlements.
Workplace discrimination does not have to happen and there are resources available to help employees fight back. And it does not have to necessarily be accomplished through the EEOC as there are legal professionals available who can assist employees in determining the veracity of any complaints and what they can do to protect their rights as employees.
Source: WDAM TV, "Government turns heat on employers over job bias," Sam Hananel, Aug. 16, 2012
Our Wisconsin law firm handles a wide variety of employment discrimination cases similar to the issues discussed in the above post. Visit our Milwaukee employee discrimination page to learn more about us.