Businesses must be aware of the most common types of discrimination lawsuits in order to guard against costly discrimination actions which can result in not only significant legal defense costs, but also in large settlements or adverse verdicts..
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the top 10 claims of the 97,443 discrimination cases resolved in 2016 fell into the following categories:
- Retaliation: 45.9% of all claims filed
- Race: 35.3%
- Disability: 30.7%
- Sex: 29.4%
- Age: 22.8%
- National Origin: 10.8%
- Religion: 4.2%
- Color: 3.4%
- Equal Pay Act: 1.2%
- Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act: .3 percent
These cases resulted in victims receiving more than $482 million in compensation, $52.2 million of which was obtained through litigation. The other $430 million was recovered through mediation and voluntary settlements.
The EEOC works with employers through its mediation program to resolve issues, helping the parties avoid costly litigation. According to the agency, the mediation program had a 76% success rate in 2016.
These staggering damage awards outline the need for Employment Practices Liability insurance, which is surprisingly affordable for businesses with good loss histories and proactive HR departments. Employment Practices Liability insurance is frequently bundled with Directors & Officers Liability insurance.