Feds achieved favorable resolution in 90 percent of 2016 discrimination court cases

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is responsible for processing complaints for alleged discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, recently released its FY 2016 performance report. In a Q&A with The Oklahoman, labor and employment attorney Roberta Fields provided an overview of the agency’s efforts and accomplishments for the past year, discussed what opportunities are available to employers to resolve charges once they are filed, and reviewed what changes, if any, employers can expect from the agency in the coming years.

According to Fields, the EEOC reported it handled more than 585,000 calls to its toll-free number and more than 160,000 pre-charge inquiries in its field offices. The federal agency also obtained $347.9 million for claimants through mediation, conciliation and settlement, and another $52.2 million through litigation. Of the 86 lawsuits filed in federal court, the EEOC achieved a favorable resolution in more than 90 percent of the cases. The agency also reported a 76 percent success rate through its free mediation program, which conducted early on in the resolution process by a trained neutral party who has no interest in the outcome of the mediation.

As for whether employers should expect any changes from the EEOC under the new administration, Fields noted, “If the EEOC ends up with fewer resources under a new administration, it may result in more emphasis on resolving charges through mediation. This isn’t bad news for employers. Resolving a charge on terms you can live with is usually a good business decision.”