The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says it has greatly boosted productivity, filing 411 lawsuits in fiscal 1985 and recovering a record $54 million for victims of job discrimination.
In releasing a report of enforcement activities during the year, the commission said it had received 72,002 charges of employment discrimination and resolved 63,567.
"This commission is sending a clear message that our enforcement of the laws against discrimination is tough and thorough," EEOC Chairman Clarence Thomas said in a statement.
The agency's office of general counsel reported that the $54 million came from resolution of 90 subpoena enforcement actions and 204 lawsuits by settlements, consent decrees or judgments.
Thomas attributed the commission's increased activity to a more aggressive enforcement policy.
"Often in the past, the EEOC didn't go to court because the case of the ordinary charging party was not considered worthy of litigation -- not enough money was involved or not enough new law could be developed," Thomas said.
Court actions filed by the commission rose, Thomas said, from 310 in 1984. Class action suits accounted for 165, or 58 percent, of the 411 lawsuits filed.
Case closures were also up in the fiscal year, to 63,567, from 55,343 the year before, the commission said.
Altogether, EEOC and state and local agencies received 119,695 charges of employment discrimination during the fiscal year, a ratio of one charge for every 2,000 people in the United States, the commission report said.