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Employer retaliation topped 2013 California workplace complaints

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently released numbers on the types of lawsuits and complaints it received in fiscal year 2013 by state and nationwide. Both in California and across the country, the most common charge that the EEOC investigated was employer retaliation against an employee who sued the company or filed a complaint accusing an employer of discrimination.

Although the number of retaliation complaints in California dropped from 3,406 in FY 2012 to 3,223 in FY 2013, they still accounted for close to half of all complaints. The number of overall complaints also declined slightly from the previous year. After retaliation, the most common charge involved discrimination based on race. There were almost 2,300 of these complaints filed in California in FY 2013. The third most common type of discrimination reported was due to a worker’s disability, fourth was discrimination based on gender, and fifth was age discrimination.

It cannot be determined with certainty why there has been a drop, albeit a small one. It has been suggested that perhaps as the overall economy improves and more people are finding work than in recent years, employees are less likely to pursue discrimination complaints.

Perhaps businesses and their supervisory-level personnel are becoming more knowledgeable about what is inappropriate and illegal behavior in the workplace, and/or more cognizant of how employees are treated. Employees who are willing to stand up to an employer when they believe they have experienced discrimination in the workplace can help make companies aware of and accountable for unacceptable behavior and help improve things for all workers.

Source:  Sacramento Business Journal, “Employer retaliation tops complaints to EEOC” Kathy Robertson, Feb. 07, 2014

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