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Workplace retaliation top EEOC complaint in 2019

New Jersey readers might be interested to learn that workplace retaliation was the most common type of discrimination charge filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the 2019 fiscal year, according to the latest annual report by the agency. Retaliation was also the most common charge filed by workers in 2018.

The EEOC report says that there were a total of 72,675 workplace discrimination charges filed in 2019, which is less than the 76,418 filed in 2018. Of those charges, the agency found that nearly 70% failed to show a reasonable cause. However, successful claims resulted in 157 enforcement lawsuits, which brought in $346.6 million in monetary settlements. Approximately $205 million of the settlement funds came from retaliation suits, and another $68.2 million came from sexual harassment claims.

According to the agency, there were 39,110 workplace retaliation charges filed in 2019, making it the top type of discrimination claim alleged by employees. Meanwhile, there were 24,238 charges involving disability discrimination, 23,976 charges involving race discrimination and 23,532 charges involving sex discrimination and sexual harassment. Of the sexual harassment charges filed, 16.8% were filed by male employees. The agency also received 7,009 claims involving national origin discrimination, 3,415 involving color discrimination, 2,725 involving religious discrimination, 1,117 involving equal pay discrimination and 209 involving genetic information discrimination.

Federal and state laws prohibit employers from discriminating against workers based on race, sex, color, religion, age, ethnicity, national origin and a number of other protected categories. Individuals who experience workplace discrimination might find relief by contacting an employment attorney for assistance. After assessing the situation, the attorney may recommend that the worker take legal action against his or her employer. One such action could be to file a discrimination complaint with the EEOC, which might result in a monetary settlement that covers lost wages, lost benefits, mental anguish and more.

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