Drop in Employment Civil Rights Lawsuits

Number Latest Month 950
Percent Change from previous month -7.9%
Percent Change from 1 year ago -13.2%
Percent Change from 5 years ago 6.2%

Table 1: Employment Civil Rights Filings

The latest available data from the federal courts show that during February 2013 the government reported 950 new employment civil rights filings. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 7.9 percent over the previous month when the number of filings of this type totaled 1,032, and has dropped 13.2 percent from its level one year ago (see Table 1).

Such lawsuits are generally brought to enforce the provisions of the Civil Rights Act (24 USC 2000e) regarding employment discrimination on the basis of race, gender/sex, national origin, disability or religion; age discrimination under 29 USC 626; and other statutes including 42 USC 1981 and 42 USC 1983.

The comparisons of the number of civil filings for employment-related civil rights suits are based on case-by-case court records which were compiled and analyzed by TRAC (see Table 1).

Bar and line plot of fymon

Figure 1: Employment Civil Rights Filings over the last 5 years

The long term trend in employment civil rights filings going back five years is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of filings of this type recorded each month. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. One-year and five-year change comparisons are based on the moving averages.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

Relative to population, the volume of civil matters of this type filed in federal district courts during February 2013 was 3.1 per every million persons in the United States. One year ago the relative number of filings was 4.2. Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita number of civil filings in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago
D. C. 26.7 16 1 2 1
Ala, N 10.4 29 2 3 29
Fla, N 8.1 14 3 4 3
N. Y., S 7.6 39 4 5 7
Ind, N 7.1 18 5 13 16
Penn, E 7.0 40 6 9 5
Okla, N 6.9 7 7 12 18
La, E 6.9 11 8 28 9
Penn, W 6.6 25 9 6 10
Miss, S 6.5 12 10 26 11

Table 2: Top 10 districts (per one million people)

  • The District of Washington, D.C.—with 26.7 civil filings as compared with 3.1 civil filings per one million people in the United States—was the most active through February 2013. The District of Washington, D.C. was ranked 2nd a year ago, while it was ranked 1st five years ago.

  • The Northern District of Alabama ranked 2nd. The Northern District of Alabama was ranked 3rd a year ago.

  • The Northern District of Florida now ranks 3rd. The Northern District of Florida was ranked 4th a year ago, while it was ranked 3rd five years ago.

Recent entries to the top 10 list were the Northern District of Oklahoma (Tulsa), the Northern District of Indiana (South Bend), the Southern District of Mississippi (Jackson) and the Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans), now ranked 7th, 5th, 10th and 8th. These districts ranked 12th, 13th, 26th and 28th one year ago and 18th, 16th, 11th and 9th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of employment civil rights filings compared to one year ago—37.5 percent—was the Eastern District of Louisiana. Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth—187.7 percent—was the Northern District of Alabama.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of employment civil rights filings—36.4 percent—was the Northern District of Florida. But over the past five years, Washington, D.C. showed the largest drop—25.0 percent.

Each month, TRAC offers a free report focused on one area of civil litigation in the U.S. district courts. In addition, subscribers to the TRACFed data service can generate custom reports by district, office, nature of suit or federal jurisdiction via the TRAC Data Interpreter.

Report Date: March 26, 2013
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Copyright 2013, TRAC Reports, Inc.