Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

The nation’s top employment cops are looking forward to an extra $23 million to help tackle a growing problem: backlogged cases at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The 2010 omnibus appropriations bill, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 10 and by the Senate on Dec. 13, would funnel those additional millions to the EEOC to help the agency get a handle on more than 70,000 unresolved discrimination complaints. The resource-starved EEOC recently saw a 35 percent jump in its backlog, from 54,970 cases in 2007 to 73,951 last year. The agency also saw a record number of discrimination complaints in 2008 — 95,402 — which was also a nearly 20 percent increase from 79,896 in 2007. Nearly two-thirds involved racial or gender discrimination. Meanwhile, the agency has watched staffing levels shrink 25 percent in recent years, from 2,850 in 2001 to 2,150 in 2008. Currently the agency is hiring 200 new investigators. According to former EEOC attorney Merrily Archer, now a management-side attorney and of counsel to the Denver office of Atlanta-based Fisher & Phillips, this is not a new problem for the agency. “Even under the Clinton administration when I worked there, the EEOC struggled with under-funding. It was not unusual for us to conduct depositions by telephone to avoid travel, to not have the money to retain experts,” she recalled. “We litigated our cases on a shoestring. Our furniture was hand-me-downs from the military and other federal agencies.” Employment lawyers, meanwhile, are tired of watching EEOC cases languish for months — sometimes years. “We have some cases that are as old as two and three years,” said William Helfand, a partner in the Houston office of Chamberlain Hrdlicka who represents employers. “When it takes months or years for the EEOC to issue even a right-to-sue letter, the delay is detrimental to everyone involved.” So at least for now, management-side lawyers aren’t sounding the alarm about greater scrutiny from a beefed-up EEOC. Helfand said, “Having investigators who have more time to actually look into these things and look into them more promptly — it’s in the best interest of the party whose position is correct.” Jay Zweig, a partner in the Phoenix office of Bryan Cave, agreed, saying that companies are “very interested in moving this backlog of cases forward with the anticipation that most of them will be dismissed by the EEOC.”

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.