Employment laws say workers must receive fair treatment from their employers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces U.S. laws against discrimination. However, a survey of more than 600,000 discrimination cases found that 63 percent of those who filed complaints against their employers lost their jobs.
Concerning trends in terminations persist
While “63 percent” is the headline number, other trends appear, including:
- 67 percent of workers lost their jobs after filing a disability discrimination claim
- 40 percent of workers experienced verbal harassment or were passed over for promotions after filing a claim
- 46 percent of those filing sex discrimination complaints faced further discrimination
These are eye-popping figures considering that the entire point of the EEOC is to enforce employment laws and protect workers.
Where are the retaliation lawsuits?
Even though the law forbids discrimination and retaliation, it is up to individuals to pursue their rights. There is no watchdog agency or proactive investigation. If a person feels they lost their job due as “payback” for a discrimination filing, they would have to file a lawsuit.
Additionally, there is no guarantee that a follow-up retaliation lawsuit would be successful. It is possible the firing was a result of their initial complaint. It is also possible the firing was not connected to the complaint. It is easy to see why someone would be reluctant to pursue a retaliation lawsuit.
Retaliation is actionable
The report theorizes the high number of retaliatory firings are the reason that EEOC filings have trended downwards. However, for those who have faced discrimination and stood up for themselves, the law offers protection.