On March 13, 2022, the EEOC released its annual performance report for the 2022 fiscal year. The report tracks the results of the commission’s Strategic Plan for the 2018-2022 fiscal years. Let’s take a look at the report and the EEOC’s strategic priorities for 2023.
Highlights of the EEOC’s 2022 Performance Report
The EEOC reported another successful year in enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws. During the 2022 fiscal year, the commission recovered over $513.7 million for victims of employment discrimination, a $30 million increase over the previous fiscal year.
However, the report also shows that the EEOC secured less monetary relief in 2022 for private sector employees and per capita than in the prior year. In 2022, the commission recovered $342 million for 33,298 employees, compared to 350.7 million for 11,067 employees in 2021. At the same time, the EEOC recovered $132 million for federal employees and applicants in 2022, compared to $100 million in the prior year.
A closer look at the report reveals that the EEOC filed 91 discrimination lawsuits in 2022, down from 116 during the prior year. The commission also conducted fewer successful mediations in 2022: 6,578 mediations resulting in $170.4 million in 2022, compared to 6,664 mediations for $176.6 million in 2021.
On the other hand, the EEOC saw a significant increase in the number of discrimination charges (complaints) filed by employees and applicants in 2022 (73,485 charges), compared to 61,331 in 2021.
While these figures may be tied to workplace reopenings as the pandemic abated, the EEOC redirected resources from processing pending charges in 2022 to developing new cases. This may also explain why the commission recovered less overall in 2022 than in the prior fiscal year.
What Employers Can Expect from the EEOC Going Forward
While the EEOC’s FY 2002 annual performance report follows its strategic plan, the report also reiterated the commission’s intent to focus on employers’ use of AI hiring tools, as previously reported (here). The report also highlighted other enforcement priorities, including racial and national origin discrimination and employment retaliation.
Given the report’s emphasis on the use of AI in the workplace, employers can expect the EEOC to focus on automated technology in the hiring process. Employers in New York must ensure their use of AI tools does not lead to discriminator hiring practices.
Because racial discrimination and retaliation will continue to be an enforcement priority, employers should also ensure that managers and employees receive proper training on these issues. Finally, while the EEOC’s enforcement activity saw a dropoff in 2022, employers can expect a renewed emphasis on discrimination litigation and mediation efforts.
As for employees, the EEOC remains the nation’s employment watchdog. Moreover, workers in New York have powerful legal protections under state and city laws. If you suspect your employer has discriminated against or retaliated against you, talk to an experienced employment lawyer.