At the end of 2011, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) released its Annual Report for 2010. It identifies some statistics that may be useful for employers, comparing results in 2010 with the previous three years. The numbers illustrate a clear effort by the DFEH to close cases as quickly and efficiently as possible. For example, in 2007, there were approximately 17,700 complaints with just over $9 million in settlements. In 2010, the number of complaints jumped to nearly 19,500, resulting in almost $12 million in settlements. At the same time, with less overall complaints, there were nearly 5,000 open cases at the end of 2007 compared to 3,805 by the end of 2010.
Overall in 2010, the average pre-accusation case settled for over $7,000 and the average post-accusation case settled for over $40,000, which the DFEH notes is “significantly less than the average $250,000 it would have cost employers to defend such actions.” The DFEH has also increased its media presence, now with active Twitter, Facebook and Youtube pages. See 2010 Annual Report for further details.
While we do not have an Annual Report for 2011 just yet, the DFEH recently released its 2011 Fourth Quarter report, which outlines some of the awards issued in the agency’s favor. For example, the Fair Employment and Housing Commission awarded $35,000 to the employee in connection with a sexual harassment accusation against an employer, along with a $10,000 administrative fine. In a case under the California Family Rights Act, the matter resulted in settlement of $70,000 to a former employee of a supermarket. See New Fairtimes Fourth Quarter 2011 for further details.