In a weak economy, discrimination charges strengthen

Not good. Not good at all. According to a article, workers filed a record number of discrimination charges against employers last year. And once again, the strained economy is to blame.

The number of charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) climbed to nearly 100,000 – a 7% increase from the year prior and a 21% jump from 2007.

Joe Trauger, vice president of human-resources policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, a business trade group, explains:

"When times are good, people are happy and when they're not, they aren't. Anytime we go into a recession or the economy gets a little shaky the numbers seem to spike a bit.”

The fact that the EEOC has ramped up its budget and staffing may be contributing to the increase, as well. With more resources to work with, the agency is working harder to educate employees about their workplace rights while also making their services more user-friendly and accessible.

Apparently workers are getting the message. They’re quicker to recognize discriminating behavior and take legal action when they feel they’ve been wronged.

The message, then, for employers is to ensure a harassment-free workplace supported through clear workplace policies, strict adherence to anti-discriminatory labor laws, and ongoing employee and manager training.

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