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Employers should expect to see a big wave of enforcement actions from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the next few months, as the commission ramps up its efforts ahead of its fiscal year-end on Sept. 30.

The EEOC traditionally brings a raft of cases toward the end of the fiscal year, as Congress considers the budget, says Christopher DeGroff, a partner in the Chicago-based law firm of Seyfarth & Shaw. He warns that companies need to take steps now so as not to be caught up in those actions, which can be both costly and damaging to a company’s reputation.

An EEOC spokeswoman, Justine Lisser, confirms that the agency, charged with enforcing laws against employment discrimination and harassment, historically has piled it on toward year’s end, but she predicts that will change in coming years. “Starting next year, you will see the agency charging out of the box from the beginning,” she says.

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