According to preliminary year-end enforcement statistics released recently by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency received 76,418 charges of discrimination in fiscal year (FY) 2018, a 9.75% reduction from the 84,252 charges filed in FY 2017, and the fewest number of charges filed since the 75,768 received in FY 2006.

The drop in overall charges occurred despite a reported 13.6% increase in sexual harassment charges, which agency officials have attributed in large part to the emergence of the #MeToo movement.

The preliminary enforcement numbers are contained in the EEOC’s FY 2018 Performance and Accountability Report (PAR), an annual report that the EEOC and other federal agencies are required by law to prepare and submit to the U.S. Congress and the president. Because the EEOC has jurisdiction over both private and public employers, including the federal government, the PAR contains enforcement data regarding both sectors.

On the litigation front, the PAR reports that the EEOC filed 199 merits-based lawsuits on behalf of alleged discrimination victims in FY 2018, an increase over the 184 filed in FY 2017, but still well below the 261 merits-based suits filed as recently as FY 2011.

In addition to the preliminary enforcement data, the PAR also contains a detailed overview of the EEOC’s progress towards achieving a number of programmatic objectives outlined in its current Strategic Plan. A dominant theme throughout is the agency’s ongoing effort to employ technology to improve its charge intake process, staff productivity, and its ability to reach the general public.

A copy of the EEOC’s FY 2018 PAR is available here.

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.