Retaliation Cases Are Favored by the EEOC

A recent report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reveals that retaliation cases are preferred by the agency.  

The EEOC enforces the federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate or retaliate against a job applicant or employee.

Retaliation Charges Lead the Way

Another interesting aspect of the report was that the largest percentage of charges – 42.8 percent of the 88,778 total charges – were for retaliation.  

Sex discrimination came in at 29.3 percent of charges, followed by disability discrimination at 28.6 percent, age discrimination at 23.2 percent, national origin at 10.8 percent, and religious discrimination at 4 percent.

Color claims accounted for 3.1 percent of charges, the Equal Pay Act claims comprised 1.1 percent, and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act allegations made up 0.4 percent. (The figures add up to more than 100 percent because some charges allege discrimination on multiple bases.)  

This is the first year that retaliation charges were the most prevalent.

The rising number of retaliation claims is concerning for employees.  

We hear from a startling number of San Francisco employees who have suffered employment discrimination who are afraid to complain because they fear retaliation from their employers.  These fears persist despite many laws which specifically prohibit retaliation.  

If you have questions about your employment rights or think you might be retaliated against please contact us.

San Francisco and other Bay Area Employees Don’t Have It Any Better

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is a statewide administrative agency that enforces the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  

The FEHA, like its federal counterpart the EEOC, protects all San Francisco, Bay Area, and California employees from discrimination and harassment on the basis of age (40 and over), ancestry, color, religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices), denial of family and medical leave, disability (mental and physical) including HIV and AIDS, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, medical condition (cancer and genetic characteristics), national origin, race, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and medical conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding) and sexual orientation.

There were 18,480 charges filed with the DFEH in 2013 (the last year statistics are available for).  Like the EEOC, there were only a small number of lawsuits filed by the DFEH.  Of the 18,480 charges filed, only 40 lawsuits were filed by the DFEH.  As with the EEOC, for San Francisco and other Bay Area employees enforcement of the prohibitions against employment discrimination and harassment is ultimately left to the employee.  It is the goal of the Ottinger firm to help you with your efforts.

Please contact us if you are a San Francisco or Bay Area employee who has suffered harassment or discrimination at work.

The Statistics Reveal That The EEOC Does Not File Lawsuits to Enforce the Harassment and Discrimination Laws

The most revealing statistic was the embarrassingly low number of lawsuits filed by the EEOC.  The EEOC’s enforcement duties include the duty to file lawsuits on behalf of employees.  However, of the 88,778 charges there were only 167 lawsuits filed.  That means your chances of the EEOC filing a lawsuit on your behalf is .0019%.


Employees who have suffered harassment or discrimination and who are hoping to rely on the EEOC to vindicate their rights are in for a shock.  Instead, actual enforcement of the discrimination and harassment laws the EEOC is responsible for is left to the employee.  The employment attorneys at the Ottinger firm are available to help you in your efforts.  If you have suffered discrimination or harassment please contact us or submit a free case evaluation.

Author Photo

Robert Ottinger, Esq.

Robert Ottinger is an employment attorney who focuses on representing executives and employees in employment disputes. Before starting his firm, Robert slugged it out in courtrooms trying cases for the government. Robert served as a Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice in Los Angeles and then as Assistant Attorney General for the New York Attorney General’s Office in Manhattan.

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