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Seyfarth Releases 2018 EEOC Litigation Report: Sexual Harassment Cases Surge in Year Of Workplace Cultural Changes


CHICAGO (January 2, 2019) -- Seyfarth Shaw LLP has released its annual report on EEOC legal enforcement and court rulings, entitled EEOC-Initiated Litigation: Case Law Developments In 2018 And Trends To Watch For In 2019, the most definitive source of analysis that focuses exclusively on EEOC-related litigation. Authored by Seyfarth lawyers Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., Christopher J. DeGroff, and Matthew J. Gagnon, this year’s report provides detailed analysis of the major case filings, policy directives, and all federal court rulings involving the EEOC in 2018.

This past year demonstrated once again that the EEOC will, regardless of the party in power at the White House, strive to be on the cutting-edge of law enforcement for anti-discrimination legislation, and a formidable adversary in litigation. Notably, the biggest story in EEOC litigation in FY 2018 was the surge in #MeToo cases. FY 2018 saw a drastic increase in sex-based discrimination filings, a large portion of which included claims for sexual harassment. Put into perspective, in the last two years, the EEOC has quadrupled its sexual harassment filings.

Despite predictions to the contrary, the change in administration has not, thus far, had a discernable dampening impact on the EEOC’s enforcement activities. Indeed, the EEOC’s Fiscal Year 2018 was marked by a ramp-up in enforcement and litigation activity – even compared to Fiscal Year 2017, which was also a year of significantly increased litigation activity. The EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (“SEP”), which was revamped for FY 2017-2021, continues to guide the EEOC’s enforcement agenda. The SEP focuses on the same six enforcement priorities as the prior version of the plan, which guided enforcement activities since 2012. The SEP has proven to be a reliable guide for predicting the path of the EEOC’s enforcement agenda. Often, the cases the EEOC takes on align closely with these goals, and FY 2018 was no exception. This year, the report has been arranged in to two main parts:

  • Part I of the book provides a broad overview of trends and developments within these six enforcement priorities:
  1. Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring
  2. Protecting vulnerable workers
  3. Addressing emerging issues
  4. Ensuring equal pay protections
  5. Preserving access to the legal system
  6. Preventing systemic harassment

While these priorities are broad, a detailed review of the case filings, guidance, rulemaking, and other initiatives by the EEOC yields a meaningful understanding of how the EEOC views each priority, and where it focuses its enforcement budget within each priority.

  • Part II of the book contains summaries of all of the significant federal court decisions arising from EEOC litigation in 2018. The rulings are categorized by subject matter to allow for easy navigation to the topic of interest.

Given the changing political landscape, the EEOC’s enforcement agenda could alter in FY 2019 and beyond. Thus, it is more important now than ever for employers to keep abreast of the EEOC’s shifting priorities and trends. Seyfarth’s EEOC-Initiated Litigation report contains a detailed legislative update, case studies and variety of charts, graphs, and maps tracking key EEOC case categories and historical data. You can learn more about the report at Seyfarth’s Workplace Class Action Blog and the complete edition is once again available for order as an eBook here.

About Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Seyfarth Shaw has more than 850 attorneys in 15 offices providing a broad range of legal services in the areas of labor and employment, employee benefits, litigation, corporate and real estate. Seyfarth’s clients include over 300 of the Fortune 500 companies and reflect virtually every industry and segment of the economy. A recognized leader in delivering value and innovation for legal services, Seyfarth has earned numerous accolades from a variety of highly respected industry associations, consulting firms and media.


Brian Kiefer, Director of Communications, (312) 460-6401,

Martin Grego, Senior Public Relations Manager, (312) 460-6659,