Retaliation Tennessee’s biggest cause for EEOC claims in 2019

By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ

WASHINGTON – According to new data released today by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), retaliation continued to be the most frequent charge filed nationwide with the agency, at 53.8% of all charges filed, followed by disability, race and sex. In Tennessee, retaliation was also reported more prevalently, accounting for 57.2% of all charges filed.

The EEOC received a total of 72,675 charges of workplace discrimination in fiscal year 2019. Of those, only 2,393, approximately 3.3%, were filed in Tennessee. The comprehensive enforcement and litigation statistics for FY 2019, which ended Sept. 30, 2019, are posted on the agency’s website, which also includes detailed breakdown of charges by state.

Retaliation, at 57.2% of all charges filed, led Tennessee’s EEOC claims. Other Tennessee charges were race (37.2%), sex (33.9%), disability (32.1%), age (21.9%), national origin (5.2%), color (3.6%) and religion (3.1%).

Nationwide, the charge numbers show the following breakdowns by bases alleged, in descending order:

  • Retaliation: 39,110 (53.8 percent of all charges filed)
  • Disability: 24,238 (33.4 percent)
  • Race: 23,976 (33.0 percent)
  • Sex: 23,532 (32.4 percent)
  • Age: 15,573 (21.4 percent)
  • National Origin: 7,009 (9.6 percent)
  • Color: 3,415 (4.7 percent)
  • Religion: 2,725 (3.7 percent)
  • Equal Pay Act: 1,117 (1.5 percent)
  • Genetic Information: 209 (0.3 percent)

These percentages add up to more than 100% because some charges allege multiple bases.

Nationally,the EEOC also received 7,514 sexual harassment charges – 10.3% of all charges, and an  1.2% decrease from FY 2018. Numbers of sexual harassment charges filed in Tennessee were not available.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ­ment discrimination. More information is available at

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