The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released their filing data for the 2019 fiscal year.

A total of over 72,000 charges of workplace discrimination were filed with the agency with over 53% made up of retaliation cases. Discrimination cases based on sex, disability, and race also were high on the list of filed charges.

The states in which the most cases were filed can be found below:

  • Texas: 7,448 charges filed;
  • Florida: 5,990 charges filed;
  • Georgia: 4,779 charges filed;
  • Pennsylvania: 4,312 charges filed;
  • California: 4,276 charges filed.

While the agency hasn’t released the details pertaining to the monetary damages secured for the 2019 fiscal year, if data from the 2018 fiscal year is any indicator of the agency’s focus, there will likely be an increase in gender pay discrimination cases.

The results could also suggest increased awareness among workforces of employee rights based on recent state and local legislation protecting employees. Many states such as California, New Jersey, New York and 14 others, have passed pro-employee legislation, including bans on inquiring into candidates’ salary histories.

Organizations should be prepared for continued, focused enforcement on pay discrimination issues in fiscal year 2020. Employers can get ahead of the trend by taking a proactive approach to the social good. Undergoing a comprehensive pay equity audit can provide your organization with complete transparency into your organization’s pay practices. A pay equity audit can be conducted under attorney-client privilege so that your organization can implement changes without concerns of unauthorized disclosure of the results.

This type of audit will tell you whether you have a pay equity issue that needs to be addressed. The process also identifies where there may be issues with company records that contractors may be required to produce to government agencies, such as entities within the purview of the Office of Federal Compliance Programs.

Organizations should be aware of federal laws surrounding equal pay if they want to avoid potential contract loss, expensive penalties, and bad PR. Paying attention to the state level laws would also be beneficial as more states enact more assertive pay equity laws on equal pay, salary history bans, and banning consideration of past criminal records.