EEOC Lawsuits Increase by More Than 50% in Fiscal Year 2023

November 1, 2023

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released new data concerning the 2023 fiscal year. It shows that the agency has significantly increased its litigation during this time. According to the EEOC’s announcement, filings of employment discrimination lawsuits increased by more than 50% over fiscal year 2022.

This increase marks a return to a far higher litigation activity than performed in recent years. The suit filings in the fiscal year 2023 reportedly included 25 systemic lawsuits, nearly double those filed in the three preceding fiscal years. It also noted 32 non-systemic class suits seeking relief for multiple harmed parties; another 86 desired relief for individuals.

Word From EEOC Chair

According to EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows, “[t]he EEOC was created as a result of an enduring national commitment to protecting civil rights, and the agency’s work helps fulfill the promise of justice and equality for America’s workers. 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.”

The Addressed Issues

The issues underlying these cases represent a broad range of the laws enforced by the EEOC. These “includ[e] barriers in recruitment and hiring, protecting vulnerable workers and persons from underserved communities, qualification standards and inflexible policies that discriminate against individuals with disabilities, the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, advancing equal pay, combatting unlawful harassment, and preserving access to the legal system.” More specifically, a report from the law firm Seyfarth found that most of these lawsuits concerned Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

This sudden increase in lawsuits began when the new EEOC Commissioner Kalpana Kotagal took the lead; another factor included the increase in budget. In the first three months of the 2023 fiscal year, the agency only filed three lawsuits. After the new commissioner took charge, Seyfarth stated that the agency filed 13 in August. Following this increase was 71 in September out of the 143 new lawsuits filed in fiscal year 2023.

Employers should renew their focus on compliance due to this increased enforcement activity. However, compliance has proven particularly crucial in the employment screening process. Whether for applicants or current employees, employers must provide fair, non-discriminatory background checks. They can ensure success and compliance with related laws by working with a background screening process.

JDP makes background checks easy and reliable. Speak with a compliance expert today.