The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed more than 50% more employment discrimination lawsuits in fiscal year 2023 than it did the year before, the agency announced in a year-end litigation round-up.
“The EEOC’s litigation program is an important tool to ensure compliance with the nation’s anti-discrimination laws and promote equal employment opportunity when the commission is unable to obtain voluntary compliance,” EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows said in a statement.
The fiscal year 2023 lawsuit filings included 25 “systemic lawsuits,” almost double the number filed in each of the past three fiscal years and the largest number of systemic filings in the past five years, according to the report. The EEOC defines systemic cases as “pattern or practice, policy and/or class cases where the discrimination has a broad impact on an industry, profession, company or geographic location.”
Additionally, the EEOC filed 32 non-systemic class suits seeking relief for multiple “harmed parties” and 86 lawsuits seeking relief for individuals.
Those cases, according to the commission, related to workplace discrimination on various fronts, such as in recruiting and hiring; protection for vulnerable workers and others from underserved communities; qualification standards and inflexible policies that discriminate against people with disabilities; the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; advancing equal pay; combatting unlawful harassment; and preserving access to the legal system.
The EEOC also announced last week that the agency is doubling down on efforts to protect workers from discrimination involving artificial intelligence, pregnancy and long COVID via its strategic enforcement plan for fiscal years 2024-2028.
The EEOC provides information about past litigation in Office of General Counsel Annual reports.