Discrimination Charges by Year

Between 2012 and 2016, a total of 9,121 charges were filed in the 50 U.S. states and D.C. claiming some form of SOGI based discrimination, gradually increasing over the time period. Many of these charges were filed with state Fair Employment Practice Agencies (FEPAs) and forwarded on to the EEOC. As reflected in the graph, there was a sharp increase in the number of charges filed in 2013, which was the first year when the EEOC began to formally accept SOGI charges. Some charges were filed earlier and may have had a SOGI charge added after the fact. Between 2012 and 2015, the number of charges filed annually increased dramatically, from 634 to 2,448, with a leveling off in 2016 when 2,275 charges were filed.

Between 2012 and 2016, there was a notable increase in charges filed for both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, though the growth was much steeper for sexual orientation charges. In 2012, the EEOC and FEPAs received 396 charges based on sexual orientation and the number increased fivefold to 2,107 by 2015 and 1,992 in 2016. For gender identity, there was an 82% increase from 245 in 2012 to 445 in 2015. A small number of charges each year, totaling approximately 3.5%, included both sexual orientation and gender identity bases; we include these in the totals for both sexual orientation and gender identity charges. These data reflect a rapid increase in LGBT individuals invoking federal nondiscrimination law during the years following the EEOC’s policy change.