A report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reveals that there may be another type of jobs crisis emerging, one in which the labor market is becoming infested with discriminatory practices.
The Huffington Post says the EEOC received just shy of 100,000 charges from citizens during the 2011 fiscal year, the most logged in a single year in the agency's 46-year history.
And what's more concerning is that the claims do not appear to be baseless.
The agency has managed to obtain a historic amount of monetary relief for the alleged victims of job discrimination — $365 million, the most on record, says the Huffington Post.
Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project told Huffington Post, “ at times like this, when job loss makes workers especially vulnerable, employers bent on breaking the law are even more likely to do so.”
This inclination is apparently not limited to the private sector.
The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported that the EEOC just settled lawsuits with three separate Minnesota state agencies — the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Public Safety — over what has been ruled discriminatory early retirement incentive plans.
At issue was an early incentive plan for state employees that provided employer contributions for health and dental benefits to workers who retired at 55. Anyone who retired after 55 would receive no such contributions under the plan, the paper reported.
These cases and others that are similar will cost state agencies $1.7 million, the Pioneer Press added.
The EEOC pursues cases alleging various types of discrimination including race, religion, and disability. Its report did not attempt to investigate the drivers behind the increase in claims.
However, Laurie McCann, a senior attorney with the AARP told Huffington Post that discrimination charges filed with the EEOC tend to "mirror what's going on in the economy."
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