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What were the most common types of EEOC complaints in 2020?

When employees make discrimination complaints, the complaints often go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). As employers seek to prevent conflict, they can learn a lot from the types of discrimination complaints being filed at the EEOC.

For example, in 2020, the most common type of complaint fielded by the EEOC was retaliation. Most anti-discrimination laws contain provisions that make it unlawful to fire or take other adverse work actions against someone who has made a good faith discrimination complaint, supported another worker’s discrimination complaint or participated in an investigation of a discrimination complaint.

Last year, there were 37,632 retaliation complaints filed with the EEOC, and they accounted for 55.8% of all charges that were filed.

The EEOC broke down the rest of the types of complaints into the following categories:

  • Disability discrimination (36.1%)
  • Race discrimination (32.7%)
  • Sex discrimination (31.7%)
  • Age discrimination (21.0%)
  • National origin discrimination (9.5%)
  • Color discrimination (5.3%)
  • Religious discrimination (3.6%)
  • Equal Pay Act violations (1.5%)
  • Discrimination based on genetic information (0.7%)

Note that the percentages total more than 100%. That is because some complaints involve more than one category, as would be the case with many retaliation complaints.

Avoiding retaliation complaints

Whenever an employee comes forward with a discrimination complaint, your company should initially assume that it is made in good faith. An experienced employment law attorney can provide you with more information about the steps you should take and how to treat your employee during and after the independent investigation.