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EEOC Sees Spike in Job Discrimination Claims

Over the last year the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has received the greatest amount of complaints in its entire history. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cites the state of the economy and a more diverse workforce as the central factors that have made the past year more active than previous years. In 2010, the Commission filed 250 lawsuits, settled 285 lawsuits, fielded 100,000 new complaints and resolved almost 105,000 complaints from the private sector.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also saw an increased in disability discrimination claims over the last year because the Americans with Disabilities Act was expanded to include treatable conditions such as cancer and mental illness. The number of discrimination claims placed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has increased 17 percent over the last year. Currently, the unemployment rate for workers with disabilities is 14.3 percent while the unemployment rate for workers who do not have disabilities is 8.9 percent.

The senior director of corporate social responsibility for the American Association of People with Disabilities explained that people with disabilities are often asked to leave their positions first in a down economy, and they are more greatly affected than workers without disabilities. The director further explained that a lot of people who have lost their jobs believe they have lost them because of a discriminatory act.

Wage and hour claims have also risen during the poor economy. One New York attorney that practices employment law says he has seen a rise in the number of cases where workers have been fired and the employer owes back wages for overtime.

Source: today.msnbc.msn.com, "Dismal Job Market Fuels Job Bias Claim," John W. Schoen, 1/11/11

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