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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a winner, and it doesn’t mind saying so. In reviewing its litigation record over the past five years, the agency found that 91 percent of the federal employment discrimination suits it filed have been resolved through consent decrees, settlement agreements, or favorable court orders. “It sends a message to employers that if the EEOC sues you, [nine times out of ten] you are going to pay money before it’s over,” says Ann Reesman. She’s the general counsel of the Equal Employment Advisory Council, an association of employers that monitors the agency. The study found that the EEOC enjoys a 60 percent success rate at trial and an 80 percent win rate at the appellate level. The agency filed 1,963 suits and collected $410 million in remedial relief in the five years that were reviewed. The EEOC says the results show that it’s doing its job effectively and efficiently. But the study is unlikely to end criticism of the agency. Plaintiffs lawyers say that the commission should fight harder, while defense lawyers criticize it as overly aggressive. However, some observers on the employer side see changes afoot under the leadership of current chair Cari Dominguez, a Bush appointee. Says Reesman: “We are very pleased to see a higher focus on conciliation and settling matters without litigation.”

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