On October 30, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) issued its annual report for 2009. Once again this year, complaints of employment discrimination constituted the vast majority (85%) of the charges. The non-employment charges (in the areas of credit, education, housing, and public accommodations) make up the remaining 15% of the charges.
The total number of complaints alleging employment discrimination increased by 13% over the prior year, from 1453 in 2008 to 1644 this year. The rate of increase in charges filed with the ICRC is comparable to the increase in those filed with the federal EEOC. Of course, most charges filed with the ICRC that alleged employment discrimination are also cross-filed with the EEOC.
The category with the largest number of complaints was sex (717), followed by race, (694), disability (562) and age (368). There were 55 claims of religious discrimination, and six alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite the publicity relating to the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision legalizing marriage among persons of the same sex, there was no increase in charges in the sexual orientation category.
The largest increase in the type of claim was retaliation. Retaliation claims increased 30%, from 435 last year to 567 this year. Although retaliation is a separate category of complaint, charges alleging retaliation are frequently accompanied by a charge of discrimination.