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EEOC to do more with Less

On November 18, 2011, President Obama signed H.R. 2112, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012 into law.  In addition to continuing VA and FHA housing benefits and implementing a veteran’s employment program, this bill also included $360 million in funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) for FY 2012.  This figure reduces the EEOC’s budget by $7 million from what the agency received in FY 2011 and is $25.5 million less than the EEOC requested.  This budget cut comes just a few days after the EEOC’s release of its Fiscal Year 2011 Performance and Accountability Report (“PAR”) on November 15, 2011.  The PAR reflects that although the EEOC is losing funding the number of discrimination charges that the agency deals with is steadily increasing.  In fact, in FY 2011 the EEOC received a total of 99,947 charges, which is the highest number of charges in the agency’s 46 year history.  This increased number of charges is part of a five year upward trend from the 75,768 charges that the EEOC had in 2006.  As the EEOC expects this trend to continue, with 108,000 charges expected in 2012, these new budget constraints may impose certain limitations on how the EEOC deals with its caseload.  There is a potential that EEOC will shift some of its focus to large-scale employment cases and to higher-stakes litigation.   During these rough economic times, even the agency that protects American workers from discrimination based upon their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability and genetic information, is taking a hit.  It is more important now than ever to have competent counsel standing by your side as you try to navigate an underfunded EEOC.  Individuals who believe they may have been discriminated against by their employer should contact Ogborn Mihm LLP as soon as possible to discuss their potential case.
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