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EEOC efforts increasingly geared toward class actions

Big things are happening at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This agency, which is tasked with helping to create, refine and enforce the nation's federal workplace anti-discrimination laws and regulations, is currently employing what the Associated Press calls "a systemic strategy to bring more large-scale bias cases against prominent companies."

A recent news article notes that this wave of change began a few years ago with the emergence of a race discrimination case out of Chicago. In that case, African American warehouse workers were allegedly targeted through racist comments, hangman's nooses and graffiti. The EEOC ultimately represented over 170 of these employees in a hostile work environment class action suit resulting in an $11 million settlement this past June.

This class action suit and other lawsuits like it represent a unique opportunity for the EEOC and workers everywhere. When victims of employment discrimination band together under one large complaint, EEOC investigators can "look for patterns of discrimination against dozens or even hundreds of workers at a single company in areas such as hiring, pay, promotion or termination," as the AP recently noted.

This strategy can result in reduced legal costs for workers seeking justice and more lucrative outcomes in many cases. Large cases also tend to generate significant publicity, which fosters the education of the public on workplace discrimination laws and related issues.

Due to the many benefits of class action suits, it is little wonder that the EEOC is aiming to represent more of these cases. If you have questions about class actions or your particular discrimination case, please contact an experienced attorney to explore your options.

Source: Yahoo, "Government turns heat on employers over job bias," Sam Hananel, Aug. 16, 2012

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