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Workplace discrimination is a pervasive problem in California and around the country. A report from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that retaliation was the top discrimination charge made against U.S. employers in fiscal 2015, with reported cases jumping nearly 5 percent. Disability charges increased by 6 percent, making it the third-largest category of charges filed.

The EEOC said it resolved 92,641 discrimination charges through litigation and voluntary agreements in fiscal 2015, which resulted in more than $525 million being awarded to discrimination victims working in private and public jobs. During the fiscal year, which ran from Oct. 1, 2014, until Sept. 30, 2015, there were 39,757 retaliation charges filed with the agency, which accounted for 45 percent of all private sector charges filed. The next highest category was race discrimination, which accounted for 34.7 percent of charges. Next came disability discrimination, with 30.2 percent of charges filed, sex discrimination, with 29.5 percent of charges, and age, with 22.5 percent of charges. National origin, religion, color, equal pay and genetic information rounded out the top 10.

According to the EEOC, harassment allegations accounted for 28,000, or 31 percent, of the charges filed. Harassment claims involved charges based on age, race, religion, disability, national origin and sex, which also includes the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity. The EEOC filed 142 merits lawsuits in 2015, which is up from the 133 filed in the fiscal year of 2014. Most lawsuits accused employers of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

California workers who believe they have grounds for a workplace discrimination lawsuit may wish to consult with an employment law attorney. It may be advisable to initiate the process with the filing of a claim with the EEOC.

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