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2,800 Charges of Workplace Discrimination Filed in Arizona in 2013

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More than 2,800 charges of workplace discrimination were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last year by Arizona workers.

Although Arizona is home to about 2 percent of the country's population, 3 percent of the employment discrimination charges in 2013 came from here.

Such charges can be filed by workers who believe they have been discriminated against based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, genetic information, retaliation, or the Equal Pay Act.

Nearly 45 percent of the charges coming out of Arizona allege retaliation. Retaliation in this case is defined as:

All of the laws we enforce make it illegal to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise "retaliate" against people (applicants or employees) because they filed a charge of discrimination, because they complained to their employer or other covered entity about discrimination on the job, or because they participated in an employment discrimination proceeding (such as an investigation or lawsuit).

For example, it is illegal for an employer to refuse to promote an employee because she filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, even if EEOC later determined no discrimination occurred.

The proportion of retaliation charges from Arizona are roughly the same as the national rate.

The next most-frequent charges in Arizona were sex and disability, which were each the subject of more than 30 percent of the charges.

Not all of these claims are substantiated, of course. The EEOC may not have jurisdiction, or a charge might be untimely, or the commission can close a charge "if we decide that we probably will not be able to find discrimination." Sometimes the charges are solved in mediation, but there are also avenues for the commission to investigate an employer, which could lead to either a lawsuit filed by the agency, or the individual who made the charge.

The EEOC didn't release statistics on what happened to those 2,800-plus charges.

However, the statistics show that the number of charges filed were the fewest since 2010, and the first time there wasn't a year-to-year increase in at least five years. Check out the related infographic below:

(Click to enlarge.)

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Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.

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