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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Job Discrimination Filings Rise in 2006

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer

Thu Feb 1, 5:40 PM ET

Federal job discrimination complaints filed by workers against private employers rose in 2006 for the first time in four years.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Thursday that complaints increased to 75,768 during the 2006 budget year from 75,428 the previous year.

Charges of discrimination had spiked in 2002 at 84,442, a seven-year high. Complaints gradually drifted down after that until last year.

"These figures tell us that discrimination remains a persistent problem in the 21st century workplace," said the commission chairwoman, Naomi Earp.

As in past years, allegations of discrimination based on race, sex or retaliation were the most frequent complaints, according to the commission, which enforces federal anti-discrimination laws among private employers.

Allegations of race discrimination, with 27,238 charges, accounted for 35.9 percent of all filings last year.

Sex discrimination accounted for 23,247 complaints, or 30.7 percent of all filings last year. Charges based on retaliation rose to 22,555, or 29.8 percent of all complaints.

Discrimination complaints based on disability rose to 15,625, or 20.6 percent of all filings. Age discrimination came to 13,569 or 17.9 percent of all complaints filed in 2006. National origin complaints came to 8,327, or 11 percent of the total.

Religious discrimination complaints totaled 2,541, or 3.4 percent of all filings. Equal pay complaints were 663, or 0.9 percent of all filings.

The total exceeds 100 percent because individuals may allege more than one kind of discrimination in a complaint.

All categories saw complaints rise from 2005 with the exception of age and equal pay discrimination complaints.

In addition, there were 12,025 complaints of sexual harassment, with a record 15 percent filed by men. A record 4,901 pregnancy discrimination complaints were filed last year.

During 2006, 74,308 discrimination complaints were resolved; more than 22 percent with a favorable outcome for the individual who complained. A record of 8,201 cases were resolved through voluntary mediation. The commission obtained $274 million in compensation for those who complained of discrimination.

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