Today I attended a continuing legal education seminar for the Idaho State Bar Employment and Labor Law Section. Linda Goodman, Administrator/Director of the Idaho Human Rights Commission, was the presenter. I thought some of the statistics she presented were worth passing on.
During the Commission’s 2015 fiscal year, 443 new cases were filed, up from 435 in fiscal year 2014. Of the 443 new cases, 414 were employment related. The following table shows what categories of employment discrimination the cases alleged:
|Discharge (actual or constructive)||64%||71%|
|Failure to accommodate a disability||17%||24%|
|Terms & conditions of employment||17%||13%|
The cases were further broken down into protected categories as follows (some cases allege more than one basis of discrimination, so the precentages do not equal 100%):
|Disability||185 (42%)||187 (42%)|
|Sex||156 (35%)||146 (35%)|
|Retaliation||126 (29%)||135 (30%)|
|Age||78 (18%)||74 (17%)|
|National Origin||47 (11%)||46 (10%)|
|Race||22 ( 5%)||33 ( 7%)|
|Religion||19 ( 4%)||17 ( 4%)|
The disability claims in 2015 involved discriminatory discharge in 86% of the charges and failure to accommodate in 51% of the charges.
The sex discrimination claims alleged discriminatory conduct against females in 62% of the charges, on the basis of pregnancy in 18% of the charges, against males in 16% of the charges, on the basis of sexual orientation in 2% and on the basis of gender identity or expression in 1% of the charges.
The national origin claims alleged discrimination against Mexicans in 20%, against Hispanics in 30%, against Middle Eastern people in 2%, and against “other” national origins in 49% of the cases filed.
Finally, the race cases involved discrimination against Blacks in 45%, against Asians in 18%, against whites in 18%, and against American Indians in 18% of the race claims filed.
Retaliation continues to be a big hitter among the cases received by the Commission. Sometimes even when there is no discriminatory conduct, employers may take some adverse action against an employee after she or he makes a complaint (internal or external). This retaliatory conduct then provides legitimate grounds for the employee’s case.
During 2015, the Commission resolved 494 cases, and the table below shows their disposition:
|No probably cause finding||74%||72%|
|Mediation, settlement, successful conciliation||17%||15%|
|Other (no jurisdiction, notice fo right to sue without findings, etc.)||7.8%||11%|
The Commission has been busy. Your company should take the opportunity now to review your policies, procedures, and treatment of all employees to ensure your workplace is free from discrimination. If you have any questions or need help, please let me know.