The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 2023 employment discrimination lawsuit report reveals that workers in Texas and around the country are taking legal action against their employers more often. The number of employment discrimination lawsuits filed by the agency in the latest fiscal year rose by more than 50% to 143, and employers can expect to see more employment discrimination investigations in the years ahead. Congress has increased the EEOC’s budget by $26 million, and some of that money will be spent on hiring more investigators.
More than two-thirds of the employment discrimination lawsuits filed by the EEOC in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 were Title VII cases. In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation violates Title VII. The agency filed 86 lawsuits on behalf of individuals who filed discrimination complaints and 57 lawsuits for systemic and non-systemic discrimination. The EEOC considers discrimination systemic when it is deeply embedded in a company’s culture.
The EEOC employment discrimination lawsuit report does not mention artificial intelligence specifically, but some of the cases litigated in the last fiscal year may have involved AI discrimination. The EEOC’s Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Fairness Initiative has been examining the way HR departments use AI since 2021, and cases involving emerging technologies are prioritized by the agency because they set precedents.
Most employers choose to avoid litigation
The number of employment discrimination lawsuits filed by the EEOC rose sharply in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, but only 143 employers were sued. This number of cases may seem small considering the U.S. workforce numbers more than 150 million, but it shows that the EEOC is doing exactly what lawmakers want it to do. The EEOC files so few lawsuits because most employers choose to work with it to address discrimination and avoid litigation.