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The number of discrimination charges hit an all-time high of 99,947 last year, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The commission, which tracks discrimination charges in categories including race, sex, national origin, religion, retaliation, age, disability, genetic information, and equal pay, reported a mild increase of 25 claims to 2010's 99,922 stats—which experts mostly attribute to increased diversity in the workplace.
Though many categories experienced little change—race charges, which accounted for 35.9% of 2010's complaints, decreased to 35.4% in 2011, while sex charges dipped from 35.9% to 35.4%--an interesting change is observable in age-related claims.
Though they've barely budged from 2010 to 2011 (making up 23.3% and 23.5% of claims, respective to year), ageism complaints still show a marked overall dip from their recessionary high of 25.8% in 2008. This may mean that the workplace has become more accustomed to older workers as the economy continues to sputter—which could, in turn, spell trouble for young workers.
As Reuters reports today, teen employment is at a rock bottom low, with only 1 in four teenaged workers holding a job. Since we've seen an influx of experienced workers snatching up entry-level jobs, it's possible that "age" is an increasingly more damaging factor for young, inexperienced workers than for 50-somethings with a two page resume and a master's degree.
Other problem areas: Disability charges increased from 25.2% to 25.8% of all claims, and complaints of retaliation rose from 36.3% to 37.4%.
Holding steady is the new-ish "GINA" category which covers "genetic information." Those claims have remained at 0.2% of the total charges in both 2010 and 2011, the first two years of its existence.
--Cathy Vandewater, Vault.com
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