EEOC Healthcare Bias Complaints on the Rise

John Commins, January 20, 2011

Healthcare workplace bias complaints jumped 21.7% in fiscal 2010, a record pace that outstripped the also unprecedented 15.9% rate of growth for bias complaints in the overall workforce, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said.

Overall, EEOC fielded a record 99,992 private sector workplace discrimination charge filings in fiscal 2010, which ended Sept. 30. Healthcare workplace complaints represented about 7.4% of all complaints filed in 2010, and grew from 6,078 charge filings in 2009, to 7,403 filings in 2010. Hospitals saw the number of complaints filed rise from 2,484 in fiscal 2009, to 2,945 in fiscal 2010, an increase of 18.6%, EEOC said. 

EEOC attributed the surge in charge filings to multiple factors, including economic conditions, increased diversity, demographic shifts in the labor force, employees’ greater awareness of the law,
improvements in EEOC’s intake practices and customer service, and greater accessibility to the public.

In the healthcare workforce, race was cited in 2,934 (39.6%) of bias claims, followed by 2,642 (35.7%) claims of “retaliation.” Disability bias was alleged in 2,074 (28%) complaints, sex bias was alleged in 1,812 (24.5%) of complaints, age bias was alleged in 1,560 (21.1%) of complaints, and national origin bias was alleged in 794 complaints (10.7%). Violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act were alleged in 5,278 (71.3%) of all bias complaints filed in the healthcare sector. 

In the overall workforce, and for the first time since the EEOC became operational in 1965, retaliation under all statutes (36,258) surpassed race (35,890) as the most frequently filed charge, while allegations based on religion (3,790), disability (25,165) and age (23,264) increased.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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