Employment discrimination claims in 2019: The most and least common

Workplace discrimination remains a major area of concern for employers and employees alike, as discrimination claims account for a significant percentage of work-related legal disputes. According to data from the EEOC, these were some of the most common types of discrimination claims filed last year:

1. Retaliation

More than half of all discrimination claims included a companion charge for retaliation. That’s no surprise, given that retaliation claims often go along with allegations of discrimination. Typically, an employee alleges that an employer took adverse action against them for reporting allegedly discriminatory treatment or some type of harassment.

Retaliation encompasses a broad range of actions, including termination, suspension, demotion, and unfavorable job assignments. Retaliation claims are also at the root of many wrongful termination lawsuits.

2. Race

One-third of all discrimination claims in 2019 involved race. Race-based claims might allege disparate treatment – that is, treating employees differently because of race, whether that treatment involves job assignments, working conditions, performance metrics, or the like. They might also involve an ongoing pattern of harassment that creates a hostile work environment.

3. Sex

Sex-based claims accounted for another third of employment discrimination filings in 2019. Like race-based discrimination, sex discrimination can involve differing treatment or a hostile work environment, or both.

4. Least common claims

Of all employment discrimination claims filed in 2019, only a handful involved religious discrimination (3.7 percent). And even fewer involved Equal Pay Act violations (1.5 percent). The Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying men and women differently, absent adequate justification. However, to raise a successful claim, the employee must show that they’re working the same job in the same location. Numerous factors such as seniority, merit, and incentive systems, as well as shift differentials, can justify disparate pay.

Claims based on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 were also exceedingly rare, as less than one-half of 1% of discrimination claims in 2019 involved genetic information discrimination.


FindLaw Network

Serving Client Throughout