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Reported employment disputes on the rise

Whatever the cause, job discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have gone up 2-years in a row. However, the most common employment dispute allegation for Indiana and other state's public and private employees has involved retaliation by employers against employees for the airing of grievances (the second on the list being racial discrimination).

What this tells us is one of two things: either employer based practices such as retaliation and discrimination are on the rise, or employees have more avenues to report their grievances. In any event, there were almost 100,000 employment related disputes tried in front of the EEOC in 2011.

It is possible that additional discrimination claims have been made to the EEOC because of new legislation. A recent area of dispute has been employers discriminating against employees based upon family medical history. To discriminate in this manner would now violate the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act that has recently been passed and which prohibits such discrimination based on any applicant's family medical history.

Despite the fact that the numbers of disputes tried are up, the EEOC was actually able to resolve more cases than it received. This is a relatively rare phenomenon and may be due in part that many such cases are now referred to mediation. But whether such cases are tried in a formal hearing in front of the EEOC or are tried through mediation, individuals that have experienced workplace discrimination or retaliation would definitely benefit from assistance of attorneys experienced in the employment dispute area.

The recent trend shows that more and more employment discrimination and retaliation claims will likely be tried in the future. There is also a new variety of claims being tried because of new legislation and because systematic discrimination and retaliation is taken place.

Source: Kansas City Star, "EEOC received record job discrimination complaints in 2011," by Diane Stafford, Jan. 25, 2012

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