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Last fiscal year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed 86 individual claims – the lowest number of individual discrimination lawsuits in 10 years. As a result, they are going to be shifting focus to what they call “systemic discrimination.” The EEOC defines systemic discrimination as “pattern-or-practice, policy and/or class cases where the alleged discrimination has a broad impact on an industry, profession, company or geographic location.”

In particular, the agency will look at hiring barriers as well as pay and promotion practices. Pending EEOC lawsuits of this nature allege discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability and age.

According to an EEOC news release, “EEOC legal staff resolved 139 lawsuits and filed 86 lawsuits alleging discrimination in fiscal year 2016. The lawsuits filed by EEOC included 55 individual suits and 31 suits involving multiple victims or discriminatory policies.”

Additionally, the EEOC had 168 active cases at the end of FY2016. Of those, 48 were related to systemic discrimination and another 32 were cases involving multiple victims.

The EEOC’s focus on systemic discrimination sends a powerful message that stopping discriminatory practices in the workplace it a top priority. Whether it is one victim or a multitude, they will continue to advocate for equal employment opportunities.

If you have faced workplace discrimination from a potential, current or former employer, it is important to remember that you have legal rights. With help from an experienced employment lawyer, you can hold employers accountable for discriminatory treatment and obtain the justice you deserve.