Workplace Discrimination Statistics Broken Down and Explained

Fight Workplace Discrimination Workplace Discrimination Statistics Broken Down and Explained

Workplace Discrimination Statistics—Find Out the Numbers

However much we like to claim that society is getting better, the only way to prove our point is to look at numbers.

DoNotPay has analyzed the latest numbers relating to workplace discrimination statistics—here are the highs and lows of what we have found.

What Statistics Are Available?

The most reliable source of employment discrimination statistics is the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC).


The EEOC enforces federal anti-discrimination laws and oversees all employment discrimination cases in companies with 15 or more employees—you can’t launch a discrimination lawsuit without first filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.

This means that the EEOC tracks every discrimination case that is not solved in-house and publishes the data annually.

What Kind of Discrimination Cases Does the EEOC Monitor?

The EEOC categorizes each case by the type of discrimination alleged by the victim. The discrimination categories are:

The EEOC also logs cases of retaliation, color discrimination, and wage discrimination but does not differentiate between de jure and de facto cases—this is only determined after investigations have been completed.

How Many Complaints Does the EEOC Receive in a Year?

Recent reports show the following numbers of complaints lodged with the EEOC, ranked by the number of charges:

Discrimination Type 2017 2018 2019 2020
Retaliation – All statutes 41,097 39,469 39,110 37,632
Retaliation – Title VII only 32,023 30,556 30,117 27,997
Disability 26,838 24,605 24,238 24,324
Race 28,528 24,600 23,976 22,064
Sex 25,605 24,655 23,532 21,398
Age 18,376 16,911 15,573 14,183
National origin 8,299 7,106 7,009 6,377
Color 3,240 3,166 3,415 3,562
Religion 3,436 2,859 2,725 2,404
Equal Pay Act 996 1,066 1,117 980
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act 206 220 209 440
Total cases* 84,254 76,418 72,675 67,448

*The total number reflects cases filed under multiple laws

What Do These Discrimination in the Workplace Statistics Mean?

The numbers of cases in almost all categories have been declining gradually since 2017—if the trend continues, it could be an indication that examples of discrimination are on the wane.

The total number of cases is still high, though. Perhaps most alarming is the fact that retaliation—the deliberate victimization of whistleblowers or complainants after they have filed a charge—is the most frequent complaint the EEOC receives.

Does the EEOC Take Employers to Court?

Once you have filed a claim, the EEOC follows these steps:

  1. Contacting your employer
  2. Requesting a written response
  3. Asking for a counter-response
  4. Investigating the evidence submitted
  5. Deciding on further action

Contacting Your Employer

The EEOC contacts your employer to inform them that a charge has been filed. The employer’s best course of action is to cooperate as fully as possible from the outset—non-cooperation can antagonize the EEOC and negatively impact any decision the commission reaches on further action.

Requesting a Written Response

Your employer can submit a written response to the charge, offering counter-evidence and any extenuating circumstances, as well as providing a copy of their anti-discrimination policy.

Asking for a Counter-Response

Once the EEOC has received your employer’s deposition, they will ask you for a written counter-response, with any substantiating evidence that may still be required.

Investigating the Evidence Submitted

The case officer from the EEOC will investigate all the evidence submitted by both parties and recommend the next steps.

Deciding on Further Action

If your case seems to be without basis, the EEOC will dismiss it and close your file—this is normally a final decision.

If there is a case answer, though, your case officer will do one of the following:

  • Recommend mitigation between you and your employer to reach a settlement
  • Launch an EEOC-led lawsuit
  • Issue you with written permission to sue

Permission to sue means that you are free to contact a discrimination lawyer and pursue private litigation against your employer.

In the past several years, the EEOC launched and resolved the following numbers of lawsuits:

Year 2017 2018 2019 2020
Cases launched 201 217 157 97
Cases resolved 125 156 180 176
Compensation secured (in millions) $42.4 $53.6 $39.1 $106.1

The amount of compensation secured through litigation in 2020 was the highest in 16 years. In addition to that amount, the EEOC also won $333.2 million through mitigation and conciliatory settlements.

How Much Compensation Do Employees Get on Average?

The average payout through pre-litigation settlements is about $40,000.

If your charge of discrimination is upheld, you could receive the following:

  • Compensation for lost pay or benefits
  • Damages for psychological trauma
  • Reimbursement of your court and legal costs
  • Punitive damages.

The bottom line is that you could win substantial compensation, but you must have enough evidence to be able to win in court if it comes to that.

How Can DoNotPay Help Me?

Your first step is to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC—this can be complicated, but DoNotPay can help you get this done in a few clicks.

All you need to do to get the ball rolling is follow these steps:

  1. Sign up with DoNotPay in your web browser
  2. Search for our Fight Workplace Discrimination product
  3. Fill in all the details of your case

DoNotPay will take it from there—we will file your case with the nearest EEOC office, and the representatives will contact you to explain the next steps.

DoNotPay—The Virtual Lawyer You Can Rely On

Discrimination at a workplace is a serious issue. Unfortunately, the problems sometimes escalate into full-blown hate crimes. 

DoNotPay recognizes the importance of easy and affordable access to legal help, especially for population groups that are particularly vulnerable. For that reason, our platform keeps adding various useful tools and products that ease the burden of bureaucracy for the victims. 

With your DoNotPay subscription, you can:

Our app can even help you draft various legal documents, have them notarized, and fax them to the right person—all from one place.

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