eTrends - EEOC 2009 Litigation Report

The 2009 calendar year proved to be a busy time for the EEOC, as it filed over 220 lawsuits against employers across the United States.  More than a third of these lawsuits were filed on behalf of a class of individuals.  The most commonly-asserted claims were retaliation, discrimination on the basis of sex, and discrimination on the basis of disability.

Download the report listing the 2009 civil actions (PDF).

Among the actions raising challenging issues for employer policies and practices are the following cases:

  • age discrimination action against city of Greensboro, North Carolina, alleging among other things, failure to make or preserve hiring records such as scoring sheets and interview notes
  • age discrimination class action alleging  policy not to rehire employees exiting under severance program adversely impacted individuals age 40 or older
  • disability discrimination class action against North Carolina employer which refused to hire, or placed on unpaid leave, individuals taking legally prescribed narcotics
  • disability class action against employer which required employees to present full-duty, no restriction releases to return to work
  • disability discrimination action against employer that prohibited employees from working overtime while on light duty
  • disability discrimination action against employer that required employees with disabilities to compete for vacant positions in order to accommodate disability
  • disability discrimination class action against employer with inflexible 12-month leave policy with no extensions

North Carolina employers received more than their share of EEOC’s litigation initiatives with 18 North Carolina employers sued, including 7 class actions, 2 age discrimination failure to hire, 1 disability class action, 1 national origin class action, 5 racially hostile work environment (including 2 class actions), 5 sex harassment (including 4 class actions), religious harassment, 1 religious discrimination failure to accommodate, 1 sex harassment retaliation and a number of others.

More Litigation Expected with 92,000+ Charges Filed.  A high volume of EEOC-initiated litigation also is expected for 2010, as the EEOC has begun expanding its staff for the first time in almost ten years.  The EEOC received 93,277 charges of discrimination against private employers during the 2009 fiscal year—a rate only slightly lower than the record-high rate reached during the 2008 fiscal year.  The EEOC’s workload likely will remain high, in part because of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) Amendments Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”).  More information on EEOC 2009 charges.

Please contact Kim Korando with any questions.

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Smith Anderson publishes eTrends periodically as a service to clients and friends. The purpose of this eTrends is to provide general information about a significant legal development in the field of employment law. Readers should be aware that the facts may vary from one situation to another, so the conclusions stated herein may not be applicable to the reader’s particular circumstances.

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