More than half of all complaints received by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2019 involved workplace retaliation, according to newly released statistics from the agency.

The EEOC says of the 72,675 complaints it received for fiscal year 2019, which ended Sept. 30, 2019, 39,110 involved retaliation against people who filed discrimination claims in workplaces across the United States.

EEOC outlines top 10 complaints

The EEOC says it dismissed 69.5% of all the charges filed because they lacked reasonable cause. The agency says the top 10 charges for 2019 included:

  1. Retaliation: 39,110 – 53.8%
  2. Disability: 24,238 – 33.4%
  3. Race: 23,976 – 33%
  4. Sex: 23,532 – 32.4%
  5. Age: 15,573 – 21.4%
  6. National Origin: 7,009 – 9.6%
  7. Color: 3,415 – 4.7%
  8. Religion: 2,725 – 3.7%
  9. Equal Pay Act: 1,117 – 1.5%
  10. Genetic information: 209 – 0.3%

The percentages amount to more than 100% because many complaints allege more than one type of discrimination.

What is workplace retaliation?

Retaliation lawsuits occur when employers take action against a worker who files a discrimination or harassment complaint. Those actions can include:

  • Firing the employee
  • Taking disciplinary action against them
  • Demotions
  • Reducing pay
  • Reassigning them to other duties
  • Negative performance evaluations

When should you file a complaint?

Federal, as well as Texas laws, prohibit certain types of workplace discrimination. While proving your claim can be challenging, an experienced employment law attorney will protect your rights and guide you through what can be a complicated and lengthy process.

Many workers do not report instances of discrimination because they fear their company will retaliate against them. However, any employer who takes action against you for exercising your legal right is violating the law, regardless of whether you can prove you were the target of discrimination.