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The most expensive award won by the EEOC during the past five years was a $250 million settlement from CalPERS for some public-safety officers. Here's a look at some other cases.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006
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In the past five years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has collected $528.5 million for victims of discrimination, according to its litigation statistics from fiscal year 2001 through 2005.

During that time period, more than 400,000 charges were filed by employees -- of which 2,019 lawsuits were filed by the EEOC and 1,857 cases were brought to resolution.

In fiscal 2005, the charges broke down as follows:

EEOC Charge Filings

Discrimination Type and Percentage

Race: 35.5%

Sex: 30.6%

National Origin: 10.7%

Religion: 3.1%

Retaliation: 29.5%

Age: 22%

Disability: 19.7%

Equal Pay: 1.3%

The numbers add to more than 100 percent because individuals often charge multiple types of discrimination.

Here are the top five cases -- from a monetary standpoint -- instituted by the EEOC in the past five years, according to Jury Verdict Research, a sister company of Human Resource Executive® that collects information on all employment-related litigation.

Case: EEOC vs. California Public Employees' Retirement System

Outcome: $250 million settlement

Primary Grounds: Age Discrimination

Details: Eight public safety officers and the Equal Opportunity Commission sued the retirement system on behalf of a class of 1,700 retired public safety officers claiming age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and state laws. The plaintiffs alleged the defendant wrongly reduced the percentage of disability benefits of officers hired when they were over the age of 30. The defendant denied the allegations. The settlement consisted of an estimated $50 million in past benefits and $200 million in future benefits to be paid by the defendant.

Case: EEOC vs. Morgan Stanley & Co.

Outcome: $54 million settlement

Primary Grounds: Sex Discrimination

Details: The EEOC sued the brokerage firm on behalf of a female former equities trader and other female employees claiming sex discrimination in violation of Title VII and the Equal Pay Act. The plaintiffs alleged they were subjected to sexually demeaning comments by male co-workers, passed over for promotions and paid less than their male co-workers performing the same tasks. The defendant denied the allegations. The equities trade received $12 million and the remainder was designated for training and monitoring programs and claims from other female employees.

Case: EEOC vs. Abercrombie & Fitch

Outcome: $50 million settlement

Primary Grounds: Race/Color discrimination

Details: The EEOC sued the retail store on behalf of females, blacks, Hispanics and Asian-Americans claiming race and sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. The plaintiff alleged the defendant failed to hire females, blacks, Hispanics and Asian-Americans due to their race and gender. The plaintiff further alleged that if they were hired, they were not placed on the sales floor, but in a back room. The defendant denied the allegations.

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Case: EEOC vs. Rent-a-Center Inc.

Outcome: $47 million settlement

Primary Grounds: Sex Discrimination

Details: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the rental company on behalf of a class of more than 5,300 female employees and applicants claiming sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. The plaintiffs alleged the defendant subjected them to restrictions and that they were often constructively discharged or terminated and assigned to menial tasks because of their gender. They further alleged that hiring practices reflected the chief executive's belief that women did not belong in that business. The defendant denied the allegations but agreed to a settlement with the plaintiffs.

Case: EEOC vs. The Dial Corp.

Outcome: $10 million settlement

Primary Grounds: Sex Discrimination

Details: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the manufacturing corporation on behalf of 91 female employees claiming sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. The plaintiffs alleged they were subjected to inappropriate assaults, threats, vulgar sexual comments and pornography, and that the harassment and hostile work environment was witnessed and promoted by management. The defendant denied the allegations and claimed that any male employees involved were given a warning or terminated. Awards to the individual employees averaged more than $100,000.

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