Judging by the latest employee lawsuit statistics, there isn’t perfect working environment in the real world. Sometimes, differences among colleagues are simply too big for simple conversation to resolve them.
In these situations, employee lawsuits enter the fray. They occur when employees sue their employers or colleagues for conflicts arising from work-related activities.
These lawsuits often result from an uncomfortable working environment caused by discrimination, harassment, and wrongful contract termination, to name a few.
Below are some numbers which can feed your curiosity and help you draw your conclusions.
Noteworthy Employment Lawsuits Statistics — Editor’s Choice
- Over 19 million layoffs are happening yearly
- The total number of workplace discrimination claims filed by the end of 2019 was 72,675
- There are 1,889,631 discrimination complaints filed between the years 1997 to 2018
- In a 2019 survey, three in five employees have witnessed or experienced discrimination
- 45% of employed adult Americans experienced or witnessed ageism in the workplace
- EEOC cases take about 10 months on average to process
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also covers emotional distress damage
Employment Lawsuit Cases & Reports
1. US Labor Statistics report over 19 million layoffs are happening each year.
(Lee Feldman Law)
This number is considered to be the average. Wrongful termination lawsuits take a considerable part in the total number of layoffs as one of the country’s main reasons for employee lawsuits. Wrongful termination lawsuit cases have an average settlement of $40,000.
On the other hand, 2017 EEOC statistics by state reported that there were a total of 5,423 claims filed for employment discrimination in the state of California alone. During the same year, the country’s job discrimination charges amounted to 84,254.
This information tells us that even a small part of the average yearly number of firings can still cause massive amounts of expenses or losses for a company that underwent a lawsuit.
2. According to EEOC Statistics 2019, the total workplace discrimination claims filed by the end of the year were 72,675.
(EEOC, Workplace Class Action)
Compared to the previous 2018 year, it was reported that the total number of charges was lower; that is, the number of charges for 2018 was 76,418. Based on the historical data, the total charges of 2019 were considered the fewest filed per year since 1997.
Although the total number showed a decrease, EEOC charges by state remained more or less the same. For example, the state of Texas came up with 10.2% and Florida 8.2% of all filled charges, thus holding the top spots from the previous year.
EEOC claims by state report that retaliation charges remain the top claim for the year, with disability discrimination coming second. The stated reasons behind retaliation were mostly race, disability, and sex discrimination. Race discrimination comes as the third most frequently filed charge, and sex discrimination comes in fourth.
3. The EEOC recorded 1,889,631 discrimination complaints filed between the years 1997 to 2018.
EEOC lawsuits statistics for the years mentioned report that 64.3% of the cases filed were dismissed because no issue was found after investigations. The top claims reported were retaliation, race discrimination, disability discrimination, and sex discrimination.
Also, EEOC numbers indicated that 18.3% of the cases filed were closed for administrative reasons. These reasons might include the charging party’s decision not to go on with the case, withdraw the request, or a lack of communication.
4. 2019 data showed that sex discrimination claims only rose slightly to 32.4% compared to all other charges filed.
EEOC complaint data indicate that this percentage is equivalent to 23,352 sex discrimination claims out of 72,675 total employment discrimination lawsuit charges for the same year.
Although this total number of sex discrimination charges is lower than the previous year, it’s still considered high compared to the other claims filed. Last year, sexual harassment numbers increased partly because of the #MeToo movement effects. However, this increase did not carry on in the following year.
5. Discrimination in the workplace statistics 2019 reported that three in five employees witnessed or experienced discrimination.
A survey in the US was conducted and resulted in 61% or three out of five employees, were witnesses or victims of workplace discrimination. Although companies have made efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace, this percentage tells us that discrimination is still prevalent in the current working society.
Workplace discrimination statistics from other countries where the same survey was conducted showed that the US had the highest, 61 percent. For comparison, the UK had 55%, France 43%, and Germany 37%. Regarding the US percentage, 42% of the employees witnessed or experienced racism, which is the highest percentage of the four countries surveyed.
Also, 50% of the employees surveyed from all four countries believe that companies should put more effort into diversity and inclusion.
6. Employee lawsuit statistics indicate that 45% of employed adults in the US experienced or witnessed ageism in the workplace.
Age discrimination, or ageism, is described by EEOC as the less favorable treatment of an applicant or employee due to their age. And for this, the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act was enacted to safeguard individuals aged 40 and over. This Act protects them in various employment actions, including hiring, pay, firing, promotions, assignments, training, and benefits.
However, the EEOC concluded that ageism still exists in the current working environment, and it’s a costly concern for the employees, their families, and the economy. Reports indicated that one in four employees, 45 and over, have received negative comments from their coworkers and even supervisors regarding their age.
Job Discrimination Employee Lawsuit Statistics
7. Discrimination report suggests that 76% of African and Asian Americans experienced discrimination.lower
EEOC describes racial discrimination, or racism, as an employee’s unjust treatment based on their attributes associated with race. Most employment lawsuits include racism in the workplace, which is recognized as unlawful by the employment law.
America is known as the land of freedom and opportunity, but the percentage tells us racism is still prevalent. The most common examples of racism in the workplace are stereotyping, bias, and prejudice. Part of the statistics is surprising because the reported racial discrimination is higher against those with higher education.
Workplace discrimination statistics reported a slight increase, from 32.2% to 33%, in racial discrimination cases filed from 2019 onwards. Also, according to the reports, racial discrimination against African-Americans has not improved in the last 25 years.
8. Job discrimination numbers show that 58% of Hispanics have dealt with discrimination.
(DGMS Law, Pew Research)
Statistical data indicated that Hispanic workers have experienced discrimination in the form of lower salaries. Information to support this claim stated that these workers only received 53% of what white male employees received in similar workplace positions, on average.
A good example is Hispanic workers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field. Reports say that 26% of the workers in this field experience racial discrimination in the workplace in the form of lower-income, denial of promotions, or rejection for a new job.
9. LGBT-based sex discrimination claims increased in 2019 to 1,868 charges.
(JD Supra, The New York Times)
EEOC claims statistics reported a huge jump since 2013, which is the first year they started tracking LGBT-based sex discrimination claims. This government body also stated that this increase reflects a relative increase in awareness of the issue.
Concerning this matter, the US Supreme Court decided on June 15, 2020, that the Civil Rights Law shall protect transgender and gay employees from workplace discrimination, resulting in a long-sought victory for the LGBT community. Simply put, an employer who fires a person just for being gay or transgender violates the law.
10. EEOC sexual harassment statistics reported a 1.2% decrease in sexual harassment claims at the end of 2019.
(JD Supra, EEOC, Fisher Phillips)
EEOC charges data also indicated that despite the slight drop in the percentage, the fiscal year 2019 still held the second-highest number of sexual harassment claims since 2012.
Moreover, according to the latest available data, the year 2019 was the year that companies paid out a record of $68.2 million for sexual harassment claims through the government body. This amount represented a 20% increase from the past year’s record of $56.5 million and almost doubled compared to $35 million throughout the previous five years.
11. Work-related lawsuits have also increased since the pandemic started in the US.
The latest data in the US reported that there have been 1,425 lawsuits filed against employers related to coronavirus since March 2020. The medical industry has been hit the hardest with COVID-19 and, to date, has around 336 claims. The industries that come after are manufacturing with 144, retail with 113 claims, and hospitality with 112 complaints.
Additionally, state reports indicate that the state with the highest COVID-related cases reported is California, with 319 filed cases. New Jersey comes next with 159, Florida with 131 cases. The fourth state with the most claims filed is New York, with 109 cases.
12. Employment discrimination cases 2019 statistics indicate that 53.8% of EEOC complaints are based on retaliation.
(All On Georgia, EEOC)
Litigation stats report that this percentage is equivalent to 39,110 retaliation-based cases filed, out of the total 72,675 discrimination cases claimed at the end of the fiscal 2019 year. According to this government body, retaliation is the most frequent basis for filing discrimination cases.
The reason is the desire to retaliate, which is a common human reaction. Often, individuals seek to avenge when they perceive an action done to them as offensive. Also, research was done, and conclusions drawn that people often seek retaliation when they feel the workplace environment is unfair and formal means of fair treatment don’t make them feel secure.
13. Small business lawsuit statistics report that 36–53% of small businesses are involved in at least one litigation.
(Business Practical Knowledge, Forbes)
Reports on small businesses show that one of the significant factors causing high-stress levels and risk among small business entrepreneurs is litigation. Statistics indicate that a small company earning $1 million pays $20 million yearly out of their own pockets in tort liability costs.
Small business lawsuits can cause a heavy impact of litigation damages to small businesses because of their number and size. Big companies have the time and financial capacity to face litigations, while small business owners typically have limited capacities in these areas.
14. Lawsuit statistics by state report California and Arizona as the states with the largest number of retaliation and discrimination cases in 2017.
California is a populous state in the US, and in 2017 alone, it had one of the highest numbers of EEOC charges with 5,423 claims, while Arizona had 1,988. For both states, retaliation was a standard charge.
In 2017, retaliation charges totaled 2,752 from Californians, equivalent to 50.7% of all charges filed; Arizonians filed 959 retaliation charges equivalent to 48.2% of charges filed. These retaliation charges were somehow based on some kind of discrimination like age, disability, or race. From the numbers shown, we can say that workplace discrimination is still prevalent in major American states.
Eye-Opening Employment Lawsuits Statistics
15. Health and safety reports show more than 5,000 workers died on the job in 2017.
Along with the number mentioned above, thousands of workers also suffered injuries in the same year. According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employee health and safety lawsuit statistics indicate millions of workers still get injuries despite the provided protection.
The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics mentioned that private employers reported 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2017, equivalent to 2.8 injuries for every 100 full-time workers.
Approximately 31% of injured workers were unable to return to work immediately, resulting in eight days lost on average.These data tell us that injuries on the job won’t only cause losses to the company but also cause injury lawsuits—both detrimental to the company’s life.
16. Employee lawsuit statistics indicate that most cases take about 10 months on average to process.
Along with this information, the investigation process should reach completion within 180 days after a the filing of a complaint. The numbers don’t match, but the EEOC has got a lot of load on its hands.
The investigation time length depends on how complicated a case is, how cooperative the parties involved are, how big the investigator’s caseload and their ability to handle cases like these. In reality, investigations take a longer time than they should.
Also, one should be aware that the EEOC is a government body that handles plenty of Congress tasks, and the agency isn’t fully funded by Congress. It’s safe to assume that the agency won’t do what needs to be done within a reasonable time frame.
17. According to EEOC litigation statistics, the agency only filed 157 lawsuits during the fiscal year 2019.
Compared to the previous year, this was considered a decrease of 217 filed lawsuits. Regarding how many discrimination cases there were in 2019, 72,675 claims filed by the end of the that fiscal year. Compared to the previous year, there was a decrease of 3,743 charges.
Here’s the breakdown of the claims filed by the end of the fiscal year 2019:
- Retaliation: 39,110 (53.8%)
- Race: 23,976 (33.0%)
- Disability: 24,238 (33.4%)
- Sex: 23,532 (32.4%)
- Age: 15,573 (21.4%)
- National origin: 7,009 (9.6%)
- Religion: 2,725 (3.7%)
- Color: 3,415 (4.7%)
- Equal Pay Act: 1,117 (1.5%)
- Genetic information: 209 (0.3%)
One should remember that some charges claimed multiple bases. These EEOC statistics should remind companies of the focus on retaliation claims. As we can see, retaliation is the most frequent claim, claiming over half of all filed charges.
Companies have to be extra mindful when creating policies in the workplace. Employers should do their best to prohibit any form of discrimination; they should create a more positive working environment and prevent future employee lawsuits.
18. Numerous reports indicate that the EEOC has secured over $486 million in damages for discrimination victims in 2019.
The EEOC proclaims a 95% success rate in its litigation. However, the percentage is a combination of both trial success and matters settled during litigation. Employment lawsuits statistics report that this success rate represents an increased overall litigation success and a 3% decrease in the monetary recovery from the fiscal year 2018.
This data demonstrates the government agency’s improvement in its effectiveness in taking charges, investigation, conciliation, and litigation management.
19. Data shows that only 1% of discrimination claims eventually succeed in court.
According to job discrimination employee lawsuit statistics, only a few cases reach the court; a small percentage, 1%, of the cases filed eventually succeed in court; plenty of the cases see settlement. Based on this summary, employers prevail about 13% of the time. Also, among 72,000 cases that included punitive damages, only 192 damages were awarded.
There’s no apparent reason why only a few employee charges move to court. A reason that may be considered is the high litigation costs to plaintiffs, which are often far higher than the actual damages.
20. Title 7 employee lawsuit statistics indicate that this Act also covers emotional distress damage.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act talks about the prohibition of discriminatory acts against employees based on race, color, religion, and sex. Simply put, it protects all workers from any form of discrimination in the workplace.
In most employment lawsuit cases based on discrimination, such as sexual harassment or promotion discrimination, you can also recover money damages that touch on emotional distress damages. These damages are considered to be a subcategory of “compensatory damages.”
Emotional distress damage covers a range of harms that can include:
- Diagnosed psychiatric condition like depression or anxiety disorder
- Reputational harm
- Strained relationships with loved ones
To evaluate these emotional distress damages, here are the factors to consider:
- The seriousness of the discrimination or harassment.
- The period of discrimination or harassment.
- How extreme and how long the effect of emotional harm is.
- The professional treatment for the emotional distress (from a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, and similar) was sought.
You can recover damages from emotional distress as long as you support it with strong evidence. You’ll need a mental health professional, a doctor’s testimonial to support a more generous award.
Wrapping Up Employee Lawsuit Statistics
While we can’t prevent a hundred percent of misunderstandings in the workplace, companies should, at least, put efforts into creating policies that aim to establish a positive relationship among workers.
Based on these numbers, companies must consider the risks and possible losses from any lawsuits they might encounter. The settlements are ample amounts, and this information should encourage employers to consider how they treat every employee working for them.
People Also Ask
According to statistics, the majority of companies hire employees offering them a specific employment contract, assuming they can fire them for any reasonable cause. However, most of the time, employees disagree with employeers about reasonable causes, and errors often occur.
Employers, at some point in their business life, face employment lawsuits filed by their employees. Reports on lawsuit employee discrimination statistics-last few years, show five common types of workplace lawsuits that companies face:
– Discrimination based lawsuits
– Harassment lawsuits
– Wrongful termination lawsuit
– Wage and overtime claims
– Personal Injury lawsuits
These numbers show that the typical wrongful termination settlement is between $5,000 and $100,000. However, these amounts are only approximations. The exact number is impossible to attain since there are plenty of payments not disclosed to the public.
Most cases calculate settlements based on “damages.” It’s necessary to back up these damages with documents seriously considered by the courts or the jury and the employer.
If a company opts for a lawsuit settlement out of court, the average compensation is around $40,000. But for ones who decide to take it to court, the average amount jumps to around $45,000.
Trends show that settlement types depend on the discriminatory action and the victim’s consequential experience.
On the other hand, various reports indicate there are limits on the compensation and recoverable punitive damages. The limits are dependent on the employer size:
– The limit of $50,000 for employers having between 15-100 employees.
– $100,000-limit for employers having a range of 101-200 employees.
– The limit of $200,000 for those employers with 201-500 employees.
– $300,000 is the limit for employers with more than 500 employees.
The EEOC indicates that the average amount of compensation granted in settlements varies widely. But some wrongful termination cases are resolved with $5,000 to $80,000 or even more, while the average settlement is approximately $40,000.
Also, EEOC charge statistics report that filing a lawsuit most of the time results in higher settlements. The average is approximately $34,000 for cases that weren’t filed and an average of $46,000 for cases filed.
The EEOC describes retaliation as an act equivalent to revenge. An individual perceives unfair treatment and aims to get even within the employer-employee relationship by taking matters into their own hands.
It’s a common human reaction to retaliate, but when done by an employer because employees claim their right to challenge a wrongful act, the retaliation can initiate a legal liability.
EEOC complaint statistics reported retaliation as the most common issue claimed by federal employees and the most common discrimination result in federal sector cases.
Retaliation lawsuits are legal actions that can be both a stressful and emotional experience for both the employee and the employer. This complaint process takes time since it has to undergo a lot of scrutiny.
Considering it’s a legal liability affecting the business, companies settle retaliation lawsuits because not doing so can harm both the employer and the employee. Negative reputations can jeopardize companies’ business, and logically, they opt to settle retaliation lawsuits rather than cut the entire life of the business.
These numbers exist because employees have certain rights which protect them against unethical actions at the workplace. Sometimes these rights are violated and result in lawsuits against the employer.
Before going straight to filing a lawsuit, workers can exercise their employee’s rights initially by:
Voicing out their concerns to the employer
Documenting the issue; this option can supplement the act of talking to the employer.
Considering legal action. This option is taken after exhausting the other two choices mentioned, and if no steps are taken on the employer’s part to solve the issue.
Discrimination in the workplace is not a recent issue, and for this reason, plenty of lawsuits are filed on this basis. Discrimination report that legal claims success depends on the strength of evidence given.
Lawsuit employee discrimination statistics point out that to win, employees need to show strong evidence, preferably documents, that their rights were violated. Strong feelings or suspicion do not equate to substantial evidence.
Consulting an experienced employment lawyer is a wise move to find out whether the claims are strong enough to proceed with the lawsuit or not.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the government body that imposes federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.
EEOC employment statistics indicate the following situations where the government body steps in to defend both employees and job applicants:
Harassment in the workplace due to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or beyond), disability, or genetic information.
Unequal treatment due to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or beyond), disability, or genetic information.
Denial of an employee’s need for reasonable workplace accommodation due to religious beliefs or disability.
Retaliation due to an employee’s protest based on job discrimination or assisted with a job discrimination lawsuit.
EEOC reports that not all employers are covered by the laws they enforce, and at the same time, not all employees are protected. These variations depend on the employer type, the total number of employees and the type of discrimination claimed.
There are reports of successful EEOC complaints. Regarding what percentage of EEOC cases won, the number seems small compared to the number of expenses a company shoulders to settle a discrimination lawsuit. EEOC’s highest success rate is only 25%.
Data indicates that claims are the most significant and most time-consuming payouts that a company incurs. Average employment lawsuit settlements can reach $200,000. This amount includes the employer’s attorney fees of approximately $80,000, the employees’ attorney’s fees of about $80,000, and the employee’s settlement of about $40,000.
The hostile work environment is a broad term and can be described in various generic ways, depending on how an employee perceives it. But according to the EEOC, a working environment is considered hostile if it meets specific criteria.
When a company executive or coworker acts, communicates or behaves in a manner that makes doing the job impossible, then a hostile work environment is generated. This information indicates that the actions done changed the terms, conditions, and reasonable expectations for a comfortable work environment for employees.
Employee lawsuit statistics indicate that cases with solid evidence can have a higher chance of winning. The employee involved must prove they were discriminated against based on race, gender, color, religion, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, or disability. And for the discriminatory action to be considered abusive, it must have been prevalent and grave enough.
- All On Georgia
- Business Practical Knowledge
- Chicago Crusader
- Consumer Notice
- Cover Wallet
- DGMS Law
- Fast Company
- Fernald Law Group
- Fisher Phillips
- Insurance Business Mag
- JD Supra
- Lee Feldman Law
- Nakase Law Firm
- Pew Research
- Spiggle Law
- The Balance Careers
- The New York Times
- Wrongful Termination Settlements
- Zuckerman Law