Is High Unemployment Driving Workplace Discrimination?

Is High Unemployment Driving Workplace Discrimination?

There were nearly 100,000 new charges of discrimination filed against employers during fiscal year 2010. This marks the highest level (7.2 percent) of new discrimination cases ever recorded, according to the latest report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Workplace Discrimination

Another startling fact: For the first time since the EEOC was instituted in 1995, charges of employer retaliations outnumbered racial discrimination charges, reports The Wall Street Journal. And, according to the Huffington Post, roughly 20,000 of these were actually upheld, i.e., they product positive results for the complainant.

Further, the EEOC reportedly secured more than $404 million in monetary relief from employers -- the most money the commission has ever obtained through the administrative process, reports HuffPo.

There are several easily-explained reasons for this increase, with a strained economy playing primary defaulter.

Disability Discrimination

According to CNBC, "The largest increase was from people who said they had been discriminated against because of a disability, an increase that may be linked to recent changes in the legal definition of disability to make it more expansive."

Another contributing factor has been the increased level of interest show by President Obama's team toward workplace discrimination. In fact, one of his first initiatives back in 2009 was to launch disability.gov—a website that provides a whole gamut of information on subjects such as disability laws, rights, employment help, how to apply for benefits, arranging transportation, etc. for people with disabilities.

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Aman Singh Das is the Corporate Responsibility Editor at Vault.com. She is a New York University alum and previously wrote for The Wall Street Journal. Her area of work includes corporate diversity practices and sustainability, and how they translate into recruitment and strategic development at Fortune 1000 companies.