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According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 2012–16 Strategic Enforcement Plan, the number of discrimination charges filed since the onset of the economic downturn has increased dramatically. Faced with these conditions, the EEOC concluded that the most efficient way to target discrimination is to find and pursue large—"systemic"—cases. In fiscal year 2011 the EEOC conducted 580 systemic investigations, filed 84 systemic lawsuits, and settled 35 systemic cases for a total of $9.6 million.

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