Monday, November 9, 2009

Age Bias Complaints... Falling!?

It was a foregone conclusion that age discrimination claims were going to rise in 2009, wasn't it? I mean, just the other day there were reports of discrimination reports "flooding" the EEOC. A chart of EEOC data shows across the board increases for all types of discrimination in 2008 with age discrimination claims shooting up 29% last year. With the economy getting even worse, the numbers just had to rise, right?

Imagine my surprise when I open my morning email from the National Law Journal to see an article titled, EEOC says age bias complaints declining after all; litigators dubious. The shocking news:
"The EEOC said Friday that it is preparing to release statistics indicating that age discrimination complaints declined by 7% in 2009."
What!?

Before employers breathe a sigh of relief, however, they should consider a couple things. First, there's the state court effect:
"'I can tell you that age discrimination cases have risen over the last year, and most of them are not in federal court, they're in state court. That's the reality,' said Vincent Cino, national director of litigation at Jackson Lewis, a national employment firm that represents management."
Then there are the still-high EEOC numbers. There were 19,103 age discrimination complaints in 2007 and 24,582 in 2008. Using the reported 7% decline from 2008, that would still be 22,861 in 2009... about a 20% increase from 2007!

I'll be sure to cover the new EEOC stats when they're released. What can I say? I like numbers.

Breaking News: The EEOC has a new web site!