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Workers file a record number of employment law-related complaints in 2011

The Equal Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces employees' rights, received a record number of complaints in 2011, just as it did in 2010, the agency reported recently.

This indicates that workers in Detroit and all across the nation must be vigilant about ensuring that they are receiving all the benefits and privileges bestowed by our employment law system and are not allowing things like discrimination, harassment and retaliatory discharge to negatively affect them.

The EEOC reported that it had received 99,947 complaints during the fiscal year of 2011. It also said it was able to close 112, 499 cases (many of which were backlog) and reduce its inventory of open complaints by 10 percent, the first year it has been able to cut down on its waiting list since 2001. Obviously, the volume of cases the EEOC looks into speaks to just how frequently employers seem to be possibly giving their workers the short shrift.

Most of the complaints brought to the EEOC pertained to retaliation by employers and the second-most complaints pertained to racial discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of age came in third.

On its own, the EEOC generated 300 lawsuits. In most cases, these lawsuits were meant to fight what the EEOC saw as systematic problems on the part of employers that affected many people. Naturally, the EEOC wants to be as efficient as it can, so it is going to sue on behalf of large numbers of people rather than just one or a few. That means if you ever face a problem at work that infringes on your rights, you may want to take matters into your own hands and work with an employment lawyer, since the EEOC is unlikely to do it for you.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "EEOC received a record job discrimination complaints in 2011," Diane Stafford, Jan. 25, 2011

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