It’s Official … Your Job is Getting Harder

Looking to justify a request for an HR budget increase? A couple of news items this week should help. They say employees are getting more litigious and it’s much harder to comply with the alphabet soup of employment laws and regulations.

Discrimination complaints hit record high. The EEOC numbers announced this week show that America’s ongoing economic struggles are continuing to fuel the job discrimination fire in 2011.

U.S. employees filed 99,947 charges of job discrimination with the EEOC in fiscal year 2011, which ended Sept. 30. That’s the highest number of job bias complaints filed by employees in the EEOC’s 46-year history.

During the first decade of this century, employees (on average) filed about 79,000 complaints annually of race, sex, age, disability, religion or national origin discrimination. In fiscal 2010, that number spiked to 99,922, fed by the poor economy and a new EEOC outreach program encouraging workers to file claims.

In addition, the EEOC finished 2011 with a 10% reduction in its inventory of pending cases—the first such reduction since 2002.

HR Memos D

The message: The EEOC is no longer the agency where charges go to die. Employers can expect more aggressive enforcement and quicker resolutions of cases. Read more at

Compliance ain’t getting any easier. When Manpower asked employers if compliance with employment laws is getting easier or harder, a grand total of 2% said “easier” and only 19% said “the same,” according to the company’s quarterly Employment Litigation Index. A full 65% said compliance was getting “harder” while 14% said “much harder.”

As Manpower put it, “In other words, 39½ times more of you said things are getting harder out there rather than easier. That’s quite a contrast.”

Which employment law issues scare employers most? According to the Manpower survey, terminations were the scariest by a large margin. (Note: For tips on conducting terminations the legal way, listen to our audio recording of Trouble-Free Terminations: Legally Safe Layoffs and Firings.)