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Retaliation tops list of workplace discrimination claims

Employer fines increased 20 percent to $356 million

The number of retaliation claims broke a record high last year, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as employers were fined more than $350 million in penalties for discrimination complaints.

Overall claims increased

Total discrimination charges, which includes claims for retaliation as well as all other causes of action, were 89,385, up slightly from the 88,778 claims filed in fiscal year 2014. Total awards paid by employers (excluding litigation) were $356.6 million, up more than 20 percent from the previous year's $296.1 million.

EPL coverage can address business-owners concerns

"These new statistics are an important reminder of the potential for expensive claims against employers," said Todd Cincotta, vice president of special liability who manages HSB's Portfolio Employment Practices Liability Coverage program. "The thought of facing those risks without coverage keeps small-business owners in particular up at night. But with the right insurance coverage, they'll know they're protected."

Claims continue big annual gains...

The EEOC received 39,757 retaliation charges in fiscal year 2015, an increase of approximately 4.5 percent over the 37,955 reported for same period in 2014. The previous record for retaliation claims came in fiscal year 2013, when 38,539 retaliation claims were filed.

... And near-record payouts

In all, charges of retaliation were included in 44.5 percent of all claims received by the federal agency in fiscal year 2015. Penalties and awards paid by employers over retaliation claims - which does not include money obtained through litigation - reached $173.5 million, the second-highest total ever. Many complaints involve multiple allegations of discrimination, so percentages by category do not total 100 percent.

Disability claims also broke records

The EEOC received 26,968 disability claims in fiscal year 2015, the most ever received by agency. Disability accounted for 30.2 percent of all claims, also the highest proportion of claims that the agency has received.

Race discrimination claims hold steady

Claims of racial discrimination were flat at 31,027 - 46 fewer than the 31,073 race claims that were filed in fiscal year 2014. In all, race accounted for 34.7 percent of all claims received by the EEOC last year.

Bring EPL into your coverage offerings

HSB's Portfolio Employment Practices Liability Coverage can offer protection that's affordable and easy to add into your company's existing coverage offerings. Visit our website for an overview of the coverage or contact your HSB representative to learn more.

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Retaliation tops list of workplace discrimination claims