A record 99,947 charges of discrimination were reported to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in fiscal year 2011, which ended September 30.

In addition, more than $364.6 million in monetary benefits was obtained for victims of workplace discrimination – the highest amount in the Commission’s history and $45 million more than was recovered in fiscal year 2010.

Ongoing challenging economic conditions as well as changes in employment policies and practices and employees’ greater awareness of their rights under the law are likely factors in the record numbers.

Despite the record number of charges, the EEOC finished FY 2011 with a 10 percent decrease in its pending charge inventory – the first such reduction since 2002.

No news yet on the most frequently filed discrimination charge in FY 2011. In FY 2010, retaliation under all statutes surpassed race as the most frequently filed charge for the first time in the EEOC’s history. Comprehensive enforcement and litigation statistics will be available in early 2012.

As we’ve reported before, employment practices liability insurance has become a key coverage for businesses, protecting them against claims made by employees, former employees or potential employees.

It covers discrimination (age, sex, race, disability, etc.), wrongful termination of employment, sexual harassment and other employment-related allegations and lawsuits.

Hat tip to Business Insurance for its article on the EEOC figures.

You can read the full EEOC report here.