The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has just reported that job bias charges hit a record high of 100,000 in fiscal year 2010.

The EEOC stats show that 99,922 workplace discrimination charges were filed with the EEOC during fiscal year 2010 – an unprecedented level – and monetary relief obtained for victims totaled over $404 million.

All major categories of charge filings increased and for the first time ever, retaliation under all statutes (36,258) surpassed race (35,890) as the most frequently filed charge, the EEOC said. Race had been the most frequently filed charge since the EEOC became operational in 1965.

Another key takeaway: the number of charges alleging discrimination based on disability rose by 17 percent to 25,165, up from 21,451 in FY 2009.

Most media reports attribute the rise in job bias charges to the difficult economy and high unemployment.

But as businesses recover from the economic downturn and start to add jobs, this can also increase their exposure to liability claims and lawsuits, according to the findings of a recent survey by Chubb.

The 2010 Chubb Private Company Risk Survey found that nearly one-half of firms plan to add employees by year-end.

At the same time nearly one in five (16 percent) of survey respondents anticipated an EPL charge would be lodged against their firm in the next 12 months.

Sounds like a good time for businesses to make sure they have adequate employment practices liability (EPL) insurance in place.

The D&O Diary blog has more on the EEOC findings. Check out I.I.I. information on EPL insurance.