By Brendan O'Brien
Jan 11 (Reuters) - Employers should expect a renewed push by
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to combat workplace
discrimination this year, after record recoveries in 2012, a
report by Littler Mendelson said.
The agency will target enforcement in a number of areas and
will increase investigations of what it calls "systemic"
discrimination, which involves company policy or affects 20 or
more people at a company.
The agency is enforcing discrimination laws with a "very
broad brush," said Barry Hartstein, the report's executive
editor and the head of Littler's EEOC team.
Enforcement will target equal pay, hiring barriers and
protections for immigrant, migrant and vulnerable workers, the
It also predicted the agency will focus on access to the
legal system for employees, the prevention of harassment, the
Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transsexual individuals coverage under Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act.
"With the reelection of President Obama and the Democratic
gains in Congress, the EEOC can be expected to pursue its agenda
with renewed vigor and to revisit stalled initiatives,"
The EEOC was unavailable for comment Friday.
In 2012, the agency recovered $36 million as a result of
systemic investigations, four times as much as it did in 2011.
In all, the agency recovered $365.4 million in monetary
benefits in 2012, the most the EEOC has ever achieved through
its administrative process. The agency also recovered an
additional $44.2 million in the settlement of 254 lawsuits.
The agency completed 240 systemic investigations, which
involve 20 or more expected class members. About 38 percent of
these cases resulted in reasonable cause determinations that
found the employer policies were discriminatory, according to
The report said that reasonable cause determinations are
typically issued in less than 5 percent of charges the agency
The Littler report also noted that among EEOC settlements of
$1 million or more, six involved race discrimination or related
harassment, five involved sexual discrimination or harassment,
five involved disability discrimination and three involved age
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