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EEOC reduces backlog for first time in nine years

In the same year that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received the largest number new discrimination charges in its 46-year history, the agency also reduced its current charge backlog by 10 percent – the first such reduction in almost a decade.

In fiscal 2011, which ended Sept. 30, the EEOC received a record high 99,947 new charges of discrimination. The agency ended with 78,136 pending charges, a decrease of 8,202 charges, which was 10 percent over the year before. The agency announced it also delivered more than $364.6 million in monetary benefits through administrative enforcement for employees who filed discrimination claims.

EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien said that the case backlog reduction and enforcement actions were achieved despite deep cuts to the agency’s staffing in recent years.

“The EEOC was able to strategically manage existing resources and take full advantage of increased resources in the past two fiscal years to make significant progress towards effective enforcement of the nation’s civil rights laws,” Berrien said in a statement announcing the most recent statistics.

According to the EEOC, enforcement programs during fiscal 2011 resulted in changes in employment policies and workplace practices that affected 5.4 million individuals.

The agency also reported that its national mediation program achieved record high results, obtaining more than $170 million in monetary benefits for complainants, and securing 9,831 resolutions, a 5 percent increase over fiscal 2010 and the highest number in the history of the program.

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