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EEOC says workplace discrimination charges could reach new record

According to data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), charges of workplace discrimination reached an all time high last year. In 2010, a record 99,922 charges were filed with the EEOC. Retaliation was the most frequently filed charge.

If the Commission's projections remain accurate, numbers for 2011 could be even higher. Unfortunately it also appears as though Florida is among the leading states when it comes to workplace discrimination charges. analyzed data provided by the EEOC. Because about 64.3 percent of all EEOC complaints were closed without reasonable evidence of discrimination, Businessweek instead tracked the number of "merit resolutions" in each state.

The EEOC defines merit resolutions as outcomes that are favorable to the employee but do not include litigation. The name suggests that the charges have merit, and resolutions often include negotiated settlements, withdrawals with benefits and other outcomes favorable to employees.

According to Businessweek's analysis, Florida ranked third in the nation last year in terms of highest number of merit resolutions. This wasn't too surprising considering that Florida is the fourth most populous state.

However, the correlation was not always so strong. For instance, Indiana ranked 5th in terms of merit resolutions yet it ranks 15th in population size. This suggests that population isn't the only predictor.

Sadly, workplace discrimination appears to be on the rise all across the United States. The EEOC predicts that 2011 numbers could be even higher than last year. However, some experts predict that it may not be a sign of increasing workplace discrimination. Rather, it could be an indication that employees are more aware of their rights and are more willing to take action.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Workplace Discrimination Charges at Record High," Venessa Wong, July 29, 2011

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