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EEOC files 86 lawsuits in September

The fiscal year for the 2017 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has come to an end, and 86 lawsuits were filed in September in advance of that deadline. The EEOC most commonly filed claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with 47 of the lawsuits, and the Americans With Disabilities Act with 36 claims. This and other statutes protect many Long Island workers.

There were 33 claims associated with discrimination on the basis of sex, 19 retaliation-related claims and eight claims regarding race discrimination. There were five claims each of discrimination on the grounds of religion and age and three claims of discrimination because of national origin. Regarding the disability claims, the EEOC was particularly looking for cases in which employees were not given reasonable accommodations for a temporary disability. The agency has a strategic enforcement plan that intends to focus on qualification standards and leave policies that discriminate against people with disabilities. Preventing workplace harassment, including sexual harassment, is also a top priority. Other examples of discrimination were medical inquiries that can affect disabled workers and slurs based on a person's race.

Allegations of discrimination may fall under multiple laws. The EEOC's lawsuits also included claims under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Equal Pay Act.

People who feel they are facing discrimination or harassment in the workplace may want to talk to an attorney. Many companies have policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender or other characteristics. However, the company may not effectively protect a person who reports this discrimination or harassment. A consultation with an attorney may help a worker better understand the recourse that may be available before dealing with the issue internally. If the employer is unresponsive to or retaliates against the employee, further action might be warranted.

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