Wyatt Employment Law Report

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Wage and Hour Division Releases Enforcement Statistics

By Michelle D. Wyrick

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently released enforcement statistics for fiscal years 2009 through 2013. Of particular note to employers, the Wage and Hour Division continues to process a high number of wage and hour complaints, with a particular focus on workers in low-wage industries. Conversely, the number of Family and Medical Leave Act cases has decreased over the last two fiscal years.

According to the enforcement statistics, in fiscal year 2013, the Wage and Hour Division collected approximately $250,000,000 in back wages in wage and hour cases. That number represents a small decrease from the back wages collected in fiscal year 2012 but is still the second highest amount collected since fiscal year 2004. In addition, the number of enforcement hours spent on wage and hour complaints has risen substantially over the last four fiscal years.

The statistics also highlight back wages recovered for workers in low-wage industries. These industries include agriculture, day care, restaurants, garment manufacturing, guard services, health care, hotels and motels, janitorial services, and temporary help. The number of cases filed against employers in low-wage industries continues to increase. Likewise, the amount of back wages recovered for workers in low-wage industries rose significantly during the last two fiscal years ($83,051,160 and $97,912,954, respectively).

Until there is a change in the administration, employers should expect the Wage and Hour Division to continue to emphasize enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act, with a priority on workers in low-wage industries.

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EEOC Announces Fiscal Year 2011 Statistics Showing Record Case Dispositions

By Edwin S. Hopson

On January 24, 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that in Fiscal Year 2011, it received a record 99,947 charges of employment discrimination.  During that year it also obtained $455.6 million in relief through its administrative program as well as litigation.  EEOC also announced that, as in Fiscal Year 2010, it resolved more charges than it took in with 112,499 case resolutions.  That is an increase of some 7% over Fiscal Year 2010.  This meant that for the first time in 10 years, the EEOC reduced its case inventory.

 The Fiscal Year 2011 data also indicate:

-5.4 million individuals benefited from changes in employment policies or practices in their workplace during the past fiscal year.

-The EEOC’s mediation program reached record levels, both in the number of resolutions – 9,831 – which is 5% more than in Fisal Year 2010 (9,362), and benefits — $170,053,021– $29 million more than Fiscal Year 2010.

-The Commission filed 300 lawsuits and its litigation efforts resulted in $91 million of relief, representing the third year in a row that the relief obtained was greater than in the preceding fiscal year.

-Some 23 of the lawsuits filed by EEOC involved systemic allegations involving large numbers of persons and an additional 67 had multiple victims (less than 20).

-The Commission also filed 261 “merits” law suits, including direct law legal actions against respondents and interventions in pending private lawsuits alleging violations of the substantive provisions of the statutes it enforces, as well as suits to enforce administrative settlements.

-EEOC’s public outreach and education programs directly reached approximately 540,000 persons.

-In the federal sector, where the EEOC has different enforcement obligations, the Commission resolved a total of 7,672 requests for hearings, securing more than $58 million in relief for parties who requested hearings.  It also resolved 4,510 appeals from final agency determinations.

Charges alleging retaliation under all the statutes the EEOC enforces were the most numerous at 37,334 charges received, or 37% of all charges.  EEOC also announced that it received 35,395 charges alleging  involving claims of race discrimination; this comprised some 35% of all charges received. While the numbers race discrimination charges declined from Fiscal Year 2010, charges with the three other most frequently-cited allegations increased:

-Sex discrimination–28,534

-Disability discrimination–25,742

-Age discrimination—23,465

EEOC’s enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, produced the highest increase in monetary relief among all of the statutes it administers: the administrative relief obtained for ADA charges increased by some 36% to $103.4 million compared to $76.1 million in Fiscal Year 2010.

In ADA cases, back impairments were the most frequently cited impairment, followed by other orthopedic impairments, depression and diabetes.

For the first full fiscal year of enforcement, EEOC received 245 charges under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information, including family medical history. Thus far, none of the GINA charges has proceeded to litigation.

The complete Fiscal Year 2011 enforcement and litigation statistics are available on the EEOC’s website at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/index.cfm.

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Union Election Scoreboard: National Statistics

By George J. Miller

To help our readers follow union election activity in our practice area, we will occasionally post election statistics and other information, such as locations of activity and the companies and unions involved.  For starters, here is the big picture, using nationwide statistics from election reports of the National Labor Relations Board, which are viewable on line at


Union Election Win Rates, 2000-2009






















This data is for elections where the employees were not already represented by a union and were voting whether or not to be represented.  Win rates in cases involving incumbent unions are even higher. 

This data unquestionably shows that union win rates are going up and that for at least a decade unions have won a majority of these elections.  This undermines organized labor’s argument that Congress needs to pass the Employee Free Choice Act in order to level the playing field.  While the compromise bill reportedly being crafted by members of the Senate HELP Committee eliminates the card check provision of the original bill, this data indicates that even the provision for enhanced penalties against employers is unnecessary, because it shows that employers en masse are not illegally intimidating employees to vote against union representation.