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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
OPEN GOVERNMENT PLAN

Version 3.0
July 2014

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

2. INTRODUCTION

3. TRANSPARENCY

3.1 COMPLIANCE WITH CROSS-GOVERNMENTAL TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVES
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA.gov)
Data.gov
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA.gov)
Grants.gov
IT Dashboard
Recovery.gov
Regulations.gov
System for Award Management (SAM.gov)
USA Spending.gov
Congressional Responses
Record Keeping
Declassification Authority

3.2 OPEN GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIP - SECOND NATIONAL ACTION PLAN INITIATIVES
EEOC Digital Strategy
Open Data Policy (Enterprise Data Inventory)
Privacy Compliance Reporting
Whistleblower Certification Program

3.3 ADDITIONAL SOURCE DATA AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC
Employer Workforce Data
Enforcement Data
Litigation Statistics
Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No Fear Data) Data
EEOC Guidance Documents
Federal Information
Other Federal Sector Reports
Other EEOC Publications
No Cost Outreach Program
EEOC Training Institute

3.4 FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS FOR IMPROVED TRANSPARENCY
Communications and Media
High Value Data Sets

4. THE VALUE OF PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

4.1 OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC COMMENT AND ENGAGEMENT WITH EEOC

4.2 FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS FOR IMPROVED PARTICIPATION

5. WHY COLLABORATION IS IMPORTANT

5.1 COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS TO DATE
Internal Collaboration Tools
Collaboration with FEPAs
Collaboration with Other Federal Agencies
Collaboration with Stakeholders
Meetings of the Commission

5.2 FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS FOR INCREASED COLLABORATION
Proposed Collaboration with Academia
Proposed Collaboration with Other Federal Agencies
Pilot Cloud-Based Collaboration Tools

6. EEOC's FLAGSHIP INITIATIVE: ONLINE CASE STATUS UPDATE
Overview
Improved Agency Operations through Transparency, Participation, and Collaboration
Engaging the Public and Maintaining Dialogue with Interested Parties
Measuring Improved Transparency, Participation, and/or Collaboration
Steps to Make the Initiative Sustainable and Allow for Continued Improvement

7. PUBLIC AND AGENCY INVOLVEMENT IN EEOC'S OPEN GOVERNMENT PLANNING

Appendix I EEOC Congressional Request Program

Appendix II EEOC FOIA Program

Appendix III EEOC Records Management Program

OPEN GOVERNMENT PLAN

1. Executive Summary

In his first executive action, President Obama directed executive departments and agencies to take specific actions to implement the principles of "Open Government: Transparency, Participation, and Collaboration." The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) later issued a Directive that required federal agencies to implement these same principles. In response to the President's call to action, under the leadership of Chair Jacqueline Berrien, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is exploring ways to make our agency more accessible to the public - improving transparency, inviting participation, and increasing collaboration.

As described in EEOC's Open Government Plan ("Plan") below, the agency is taking steps to:

  • Expand data made available on Data.gov and EEOC.gov, including new data related to enforcement, litigation, employer workforce, and federal sector complaints, hearings, and appeals;
  • Live-stream video from our Commission meetings;
  • Post an online calendar of local, regional, and national agency events;
  • Create e-mail subscriptions to agency updates; and
  • Produce online, video tutorials.

Beyond these smaller changes, EEOC is currently engaged in the development of its Open Government Flagship Initiative, an ambitious project to create a comprehensive, online system for requesting and receiving case-status updates. This system will allow parties in private sector charges and federal sector complaints to learn the status of their charges or appeals 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through a Web-based system. For additional information, see Sections 3.2 and 6, below.

As we undertake these and other improvements outlined in the Plan, EEOC is excited about their collective potential to realize the President's vision of a more open, transparent, participatory, and collaborative government; improve our stakeholder services; and, ultimately, further our mission of ending employment discrimination and promoting equal employment opportunity for all.

2. Introduction

The mission of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is to stop and remedy unlawful employment discrimination in the workplace by enforcing Federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. We do this primarily through investigation, conciliation, mediation, and litigation, or otherwise resolving charges of discrimination against private sector employers, employment agencies, labor unions, and the Federal Government. We also investigate charges of discrimination against State and local governments and provide recommendations to the Department of Justice for further action. EEOC also collects employment data for employers with over 100 employees via surveys, including the EEO-1 data form.

As with any law enforcement agency, EEOC has always been careful to balance the needs of creating a more open government with the need to protect confidential information gathered during the charge process and survey collection, as required by law. Historically and inadvertently, this has often led to an agency that is less accessible than desired or necessary. Under the leadership of President Obama and Chair Berrien, EEOC is now working to create a culture that is more open to all stakeholders, including:

  • Charging parties;
  • Respondents;
  • Employees and job-seekers
  • Private employers;
  • Federal employers;
  • Business communities;
  • Congress;
  • Advocates;
  • EEO legal practitioners, mediators, academics; and the
  • General public.

As a first step, EEOC formed an Open Government Workgroup, under the direction of the Director of the Office of Research, Information and Planning. The workgroup drafted this Plan, which contains suggestions for improving transparency, inviting participation, and increasing collaboration with the agency. In each section, we describe our current efforts and upcoming plans to create a more open and accessible agency.

As we undertake these and other improvements, EEOC is excited about the collective potential to realize the President's vision of a more open, transparent, participatory, and collaborative government, which improves our stakeholder services; and, ultimately, furthers the agency's mission. We recognize that participation and collaboration are key elements to effective communication. For our communication efforts to be understood, and therefore effective, we believe it is important to improve and invest in new vehicles for communicating with the public (e.g., social media, website redesign, etc.).

3. Transparency

EEOC believes that a more transparent government is more efficient and accountable to the public, and that proactive disclosures and the prompt release of documents and data to the public will set the agency on the road toward greater transparency, participation, and collaboration.

EEOC maintains electronic information on private sector charges of employment discrimination, federal sector complaint hearings, EEOC litigation cases, appeals of federal sector agency or administrative judge decisions, and outreach events. This information is used by EEOC staff within EEOC headquarters, field offices, and participating State and local government Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs). Much of the information is subject to privacy, confidentiality, security, or other restrictions. However, to the extent permitted by these restrictions, and where practicable, EEOC provides the public with any statistical information it maintains in electronic format. EEOC plans to expand the content availability and usability of this data, including publishing information in an open format that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and searched by commonly used Web search applications.

 

3.1 Compliance with Cross-Governmental Transparency Initiatives

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA.gov)
The Office of Research Information and Planning coordinates with OLC, OGC, OFP, OCFO, and OCLA to update the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA), which is a governmentwide compendium of Federal programs, projects, services and activities providing assistance or benefits to the American public. The CFDA is updated annually with a database electronically maintained jointly by OMB/GSA. Historically EEOC reported on seven programs until FY 2010: 1) 30.001 Employment Discrimination Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; 2) 30.002 Employment Discrimination State and Local Fair Employment; 3) 30.005 Employment Discrimination Private Bar Program; 4) 30.008 Employment Discrimination Age Discrimination in Employment; 5) 30.009 Employment Discrimination Project Contracts Indian Tribe; 6) 30.010 Employment Discrimination Equal Pay Act; and 7) 30.011 Employment Discrimination Employment Discrimination Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In mid-FY 2010, EEOC was given the authority to archive two additional programs: 1) 30.002 Employment Discrimination State and Local Fair Employment, and 2) 30.009 Employment Discrimination Project Contracts Indian Tribes. In FY 2011, we added a new program - 30.013 Employment Discrimination Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. The annual update for FY 2012 was completed on August 9, 2013 and the update for FY 2013 is due to OMB/GSA in August 2014. (Updates can be viewed at https://www.cfda.gov/indexs=agency&mode=form&tab=program&id=6b9177c91b930a1b852571bdfd8e190d)

Data.gov
In January 2010, EEOC initially published 22 downloadable, machine readable data-sets regarding job patterns for minorities and women in private industry. Eleven of these data sets are high value because the data (EEO-1 data) reflect the performance of the private sector in implementing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the diversity of the private sector work force with respect to gender, race, and ethnicity. The data also allow employers to perform a self-evaluation of their work force, by comparing their own EEO-1 reports to the relevant aggregated EEO-1 data.

Since that time, we have published 49 datasets, including EEO-1 high value summary data sets for 2011 and 2012 and summary data sets for the 2009 and 2010 EEO-4 Survey from State and Local Government. In FY 2014, we also published 2012 summary data sets for EEO-5 survey on elementary-secondary public schools, and for the first time, we are preparing summary data sets from EEO-3 surveys on Local Referral Unions.

Examples of datasets related to labor force employment and earnings/job patterns for minorities and women, are accessible via: https://catalog.data.gov/dataset?q=EEOC&sort=score+desc%2C+name+asc&ext_location=&ext_bbox=&ext_prev_extent=-177.890625%2C-30.751277776257812%2C-23.2031252C72.81607371878991.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA.gov)
EEOC's FOIA Program page, Appendix II, starting on page 33 includes: 1) a description of our staffing, organizational structure, and process for analyzing and responding to FOIA requests; 2) an assessment of EEOC's capacity to analyze, coordinate, and respond to such requests in a timely manner; changes proposed to increase that capacity; and 3) an assessment of EEOC's FOIA backlog, together with a plan for working towards the goal of reducing the FOIA backlog by at least ten percent each year.

To facilitate disclosure of agency records, the Office of Legal Counsel has enhanced the formats by which requesters may submit requests to headquarters and the field offices. Requesters may email requests and appeals to headquarters at FOIA@eeoc.gov, or to an individual district office via its email address, or by fax to (202) 663-4679, or online via EEOC's FOIA Tracking System (FTS) located at https://egov.eeoc.gov/foia/.

The Office of Legal Counsel makes non-confidential records proactively available through EEOC's online Reading Room at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/foia/readingroom.cfm to facilitate transparency. The Office of Legal Counsel will continue to review agency records to increase the number of proactively disclosed records available to the public on the agency website.

During FY 2012, the Office of Legal Counsel launched an update to FTS that permitted requesters to expedite delivery of their request to the appropriate district office directly via the Internet. EEOC has awarded a contract to acquire new FOIA software, and will be implementing a new FOIA Tracking System during FYs 2014 and 2015. The new system will enhance online submissions, track FOIA data, better manage deadlines, calculate fees, and automatically prepare annual reports.

EEOC Annual FOIA Report data, which includes EEOC annual FOIA data by individual offices; i.e., 16 Field offices and the Office of Legal Counsel, is available on the Department of Justice dashboard for FYs 2008-2013 at FOIA.gov.

EEOC Annual FOIA Report data for FYs 1997-2011, and annual Chief FOIA Officer Reports for FYs 1997-2013 on EEOC's administration of FOIA, are also available on the agency's public website at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/foia/reports/index.cfm.

Grants.gov
EEOC does not issue grants and therefore does not post data to Grants.gov.

IT Dashboard
EEOC is not required to submit Exhibit 53 or Form 300 data through the IT Dashboard.

Recovery.gov
EEOC has not received funding under the Recovery Act and therefore does not post data to Recovery.gov.

Regulations.gov
EEOC was an early adopter of Regulations.gov and began using it in 2007. Using the Regulations.gov Internet portal, we received and considered close to 700 public comments on the proposed rulemaking to update the Americans with Disabilities Act regulation pursuant to the 2008 ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). EEOC also posted for public review the transcripts of all three public Town Hall "Listening Sessions" held by EEOC Commissioners to hear public views about the ADAAA.

Other recent documents for which EEOC has used Regulations.gov include: 1) regulations on Disparate Impact and Reasonable Factors Other Than Age under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; and 2) EEOC Management Directive 110, which provides federal agencies with Commission policies, procedures, and guidance relating to the newly revised 29 C.F.R. Part 1614 (federal sector EEO regulations). EEOC continues to use Regulations.gov to post notices, proposed rules, and public submissions for comment.

System for Award Management (SAM.gov)
The System for Award Management (SAM) is the primary Government repository for prospective Federal awardee and Federal awardee information. EEOC verifies that prospective contractors are registered in the SAM database before awarding a contract, as required by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The database is used to ensure prospective contractors are not debarred, suspended, or proposed for debarment prior to soliciting for offers and awarding contracts. The SAM database is also used to obtain contractor representations and certifications. The representations and certification provides information concerning the prospective Federal awardee such as whether or not they are a small business.

USA Spending.gov
As with all Federal agencies, the prime award spending data for the EEOC can be found on the USAspending. gov website. The site provides an array of information related to the contracts, purchase orders, delivery orders, and task order amounts and date of awards; including contractor names and addresses and a description of the supplies and services provided to the agency. EEOC contract spending data is available online for FYs2000 - present. The total numbers of awards are as follows:

FY 2000 - 307
FY 2001 - 317
FY 2002 - 290
FY 2003 - 448
FY 2004 - 3,980
FY 2005 - 4,191
FY 2006 - 3,839
FY 2007 - 3,803
FY 2008 - 1,437
FY 2009 - 1,769
FY 2010 - 2,147
FY 2011 - 2,126
FY 2012 - 2,238
FY 2013 - 2,262
FY 2014 - 861 (October 1, 2013 thru May 22, 2014)

The information posted on the website is provided by the Federal Procurement Data System - Next Generation (FPDS-NG). Please note that prior to FY 2004, actions for $25,000 or less were reported using the Standard Form 281 FPDS Summary Contract Action Report and therefore are not included on the USAspending.gov website.

Congressional Responses
EEOC's Congressional Request Program page describes EEOC's staffing and organizational structure, and its process for analyzing and responding to Congressional requests for information. The Congressional Request Program page, Appendix I, begins on page 30.

Record Keeping
The Managing Government Records Directive, M-12-18, dated August 24, 2012, directs Federal agencies to report to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) the progress being made towards two central goals to: 1) Require electronic recordkeeping to ensure transparency, efficiency, and accountability; and 2) Demonstrate compliance with Federal records management statues and regulations. In compliance with the Directive, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) issued a follow-on memorandum on December 19, 2013, requesting EEOC Office Directors to review their existing program records schedules as listed in the EEOC Records Control Schedule (EEOC Order 201.001, Appendix A). Directors were asked to determine what changes in business processes, regulations, and the length of time records needed to be kept were required, and whether or not records are being created electronically. Since the issuance of the December 19, 2014 memorandum, 10 out of 12 Headquarters' offices have met with the Agency Records Officer to discuss and submit proposed changes to their existing program record schedules.

Review of the record schedules ensures that the transition from a paper-based system to an electronic recordkeeping system is seamless and successful. OCFO is in the process of reviewing and analyzing each proposed record schedule in preparation for NARA review and approval.

EEOC's Records Management Program page requirements includes: 1) a description of key responsibilities; 2) general records management requirements; 3) Standard Operating Procedures for transferring temporary records to the Federal Records Centers (FRC) and permanent records to the National Archives; 4) a list of procedures for appropriate file equipment and file space; and 5) penalties for the damage, alienation, and unauthorized destruction of official EEOC records. It also demonstrates how records management requirements are met pursuant to EEOC Order 201.001, Records Management and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The Records Management Program page, Appendix III, begins on page 42.

Declassification Authority
EEOC has no declassification authority. In general, any documents held by EEOC that have a national security classification bear that classification from another source. Decisions and the process for the declassification of this material rest with their originators.

3.2 Open Government Partnership - Second National Action Plan Initiatives

EEOC Digital Strategy
Pursuant to the Executive Order 13571, "Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service," issued on April 27, 2011, EEOC has been engaged in identifying new and different ways to use emerging technologies to streamline our delivery of services at a lower cost," decrease our response time, and improve the effectiveness of the services we provide to our customers and stakeholders.

We are currently in the process of developing a comprehensive digital strategy for the agency that focuses on the following priority areas, identified in the Federal Government's digital strategy guidance issued by OMB on May 23, 2012, "Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People." Specifically, the Strategy requires agencies to:

  • Establish specific, measurable goals for delivering better digital services;
  • Encourage the delivery of information in new ways that fully utilize the power and potential of mobile and web-based technologies;
  • Ensure the safe and secure delivery, and use of digital services to protect information and privacy;
  • Establish central online resources for outside developers;
  • Adopt new standards for making applicable Government information open and machine-readable by default; and
  • Create an agency digital strategy web page to publically report our progress in meeting the requirements in a machine-readable format.

EEOC's Strategic Plan Performance Measure 13, outlines the agency's digital strategy for the Private Sector Charge Process. This measure requires that EEOC leverage technology to improve the private and state and local government sectors' charge process. In FY 2013, EEOC completed requirements and design for two major, public-facing applications to improve customer service and responsiveness: 1) an online intake system to allow a potential charging party to use the EEOC website to self-screen potential claims of employment discrimination, submit a pre-charge injury to EEOC, and schedule an appointment online; and 2) a system to allow charging parties to check the status of their charges online. For more information, see Section 6 - EEOC's Flagship Initiative: Online Case Status, beginning on page 27. Development and implementation of these systems will occur during FYs 2014 and 2015.

In addition, during FY 2014, EEOC will document requirements and design a secure document portal, to allow private sector, charge-related documents to be submitted and received, electronically, between EEOC and involved parties, with document integration into our case management system and automation of the related workflow processes. Phased development of this digital charge strategy will initiate during FY 2014 and continue through FYs 2015 and 2016.

Similarly, EEOC's Strategic Plan, Performance Measure 3, outline our digital strategy to support Federal Sector services. During FYs 2014 and 2015, EEOC will design an online application to allow a complainant to request a Hearing or Appeal online and check the status of their hearing or appeal. During FYs 2015 and 2016, we will expand this functionality in a phased manner to allow full electronic document submission and receipt of all related files, including EEOC Decisions between the involved parties.

Open Data Policy (Enterprise Data Inventory)
In response to OMB's May 9, 2013, Memorandum "Open Data Policy - Managing Information as an Asset," EEOC is in the process of developing and subsequently maintaining an "enterprise data inventory" of all data resources across the agency, and publishing our "public data listing." As a subset of the agency's enterprise data inventory, our public data listing will contain a list of all data assets that are public or could be made public.

Under this initiative, we intend to fully describe:

  • The agency's process for systematically inventorying data assets, including those that are public, non-public, and restricted;
  • Ways in which EEOC is making public data assets available for download and/or use through an application programming interface (API);
  • Steps we have taken to encourage public use of already released datasets, in order to promote public knowledge and foster innovation; and
  • How EEOC identifies data assets not yet publicly available and establishes specific timelines for online publication in open formats.

We will also include a description of how EEOC is using data and information resources to increase agency accountability and responsiveness; improve public knowledge about the agency, further our core mission, create economic opportunity, and respond to feedback received through public consultation.

Privacy Compliance Reporting
To support the Federal Government's long-standing dedication to ensure the proper management and security of its citizens' personal information held by Federal agencies, EEOC provides only the following privacy compliance report to OMB via the federal government only access portal MAX.

PRIVACY REPORT RECIPIENT(S)
Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) Report OMB

Whistleblower Certification Program
Federal law prohibits retaliation against most federal employees and contractors who act as whistleblowers. In 2013, the government strengthened and expanded whistleblower protections for government personnel through the enactment of additional legislation and Executive action. To ensure that Federal employees understand their whistleblower rights and how to make protected disclosures, the government mandated participation in the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) Whistleblower Certification program in FY 2014.

In accordance with a February 2014 memorandum from the federal Chief Technology Officer and the White House's 2013 Open Government National Action Plan, agencies are to establish a plan for completing OSC's 2302(c ) Certification Program. The requirements of the program are available on OSC's website located at http://www.osc.gov/outreachCertificationProgram.htm. EEOC is in the process of reviewing the requirements necessary to obtain certification. In the interim, we will continue to take the required action(s) to ensure that our employees are informed of their rights and remedies under the prohibited personnel practices and whistleblower retaliation protection provisions of Title 5.

3.3 Additional Source Data Available to the Public

Employer Workforce Data Private sector employers' workforce data are collected on the Employer Information Report, otherwise known as the EEO-1, and are submitted jointly to EEOC and the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. While the individual employer reports are confidential by statute, the aggregate data are posted on EEOC's website at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/index.cfm.

Enforcement Data
EEOC posts charge receipts, charge resolutions, and monetary benefits under all of the statutes enforced by the agency, as well as American with Disabilities Act (ADA) charge data by impairment/bases, including:

  • Total charge receipts and resolutions;
  • Merit factor resolutions;
  • Monetary benefits;
  • Receipts and resolutions by impairments/bases.

These data, which are located at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/index/index.cfm, begin with FY 1992 and are updated annually. EEOC also posts annual charge receipts data by basis searchable by state, as well as U.S. territories beginning with FY 2010 data, which are located at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/charges_by_state.cfm. In FY 2013, the agency made available charge receipts arrayed by statute and issue beginning with FY 2010 that are updated, annually. These data are located at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/statutes_by_issue.cfm. In addition, statistics are published on charges resolved through the agency's mediation program, beginning with FY 1999, which include the number of mediations conducted and resolved, resolution rate, processing time, and monetary benefits. These statistics are available on http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/mediation/mediation_stats.cfm.

In FY 2014, EEOC made FYs 2010 through 2013 charge receipts by issue under each basis available on the public website located at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/bases_by_issue.cfm. We will also publish a summary of enforcement data statistics, quarterly, beginning in FY 2016.

Litigation Statistics
Each year, EEOC posts aggregate numbers for all suits filed, merits suits filed, suits by statute, subpoena and preliminary relief actions, all resolutions, merits suit resolutions, resolutions by statute, total monetary benefits, and monetary benefits by statute. These data are located at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/litigation.cfm. In addition, EEOC posts Office of General Counsel annual reports, the Regional Attorney Manual, and selected appellate briefs accessible through a search function.

EEOC publishes national litigation data on an annual basis. All of the Commission's appellate and amicus briefs are now available in a fully searchable database. To access EEOC briefs filed in the Supreme Court, go to: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/litigation/index.cfm. In addition, selected case lists have been added to the agency's website - such as the list of "EEOC Systemic Hiring Resolutions and Filings since 2005," and a list of "Pending and Resolved Cases under the Americans with Disabilities Act," which are available at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/litigation/selected/index.cfm. Additional case lists will be posted as appropriate. Finally, press releases relating to litigation filings and resolutions are continually posted to EEOC's Virtual Newsroom located at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/index.cfm.

Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act) Data
Pursuant to the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act), EEOC posts a summary of statistical data pertaining to governmentwide EEO hearings and appeals, as well as complaints filed against the EEOC at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/nofear/index.cfm.

EEOC Guidance Documents
EEOC publishes documents designed to help stakeholders understand their legal rights and obligations under EEOC-enforced statutes. The documents include: regulations; enforcement guidance; management directives; technical assistance and best practices; memoranda of understanding with other Federal agencies regarding shared responsibilities under various employment discrimination laws; and informal discussion letters addressing specific stakeholder inquiries.

In compliance with the agency's Strategic Plan, EEOC reviews, updates, and/or augments its subregulatory guidance and documents with plain language, as necessary.

Federal Information

  • Office of Federal Operations (OFO) Appellate Decisions. Federal employees and applicants have the right to appeal an agency's final action to EEOC's Office of Federal Operations. Appellate decisions are located on EEOC's website located at http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/decisions.cfm.
  • OFO's Digest of Equal Employment Opportunity Law. EEOC's Office of Federal Operations publishes an informational newsletter that summarizes selected EEOC appellate decisions, significant court decisions, articles on the complaint process, and various substantive law issues. Issues of the Digest of Equal Employment Opportunity Law are available at http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/digest/index.cfm.
  • Form 462 data: Federal Sector Complaint Processing and Workplace Diversity Information. Federal agencies report their EEO complaint activities, such as EEO Counseling, ADR, and Formal Complaint processing information to the Commission for review. EEOC includes the data from these reports in its Annual Report on the Federal Work Force, which is published on the agency's website at http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/reports/index.cfm.
  • Management Directive 715 Reports (MD 715). EEOC reviews "MD 715" reports, submitted annually by all Federal agencies, to evaluate their progress toward becoming model EEO programs. In this connection, EEOC posts MD 715 implementing instructions, FAQs, Sample Workforce Data Tables, OPM/Census Occupation Cross-Classification Table (Crosswalk) guidance for second-level reporting agencies, multiple versions of the required forms and instructions, and detailed best practices on our website at http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/directives/index.cfm. Agency-specific reports and communications are not made public because of their confidential nature.

Other Federal Sector Reports
The Office of Federal Operations publishes governmentwide reports on a variety of topics of interest for federal sector stakeholders, such as Best Practices in investigations. For example, federal sector stakeholder observations on women and African-Americans in the Federal government are available on the Web at http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/reports/index.cfm.

Other EEOC Publications
Other EEOC publications are available at no cost on subjects ranging from general information on all statutes enforced by EEOC to age discrimination, the ADA, federal sector information, mediation, natural origin, race/color, and harassment. In the last several years, EEOC has made significant progress in making agency information more accessible by posting many agency publications online. Many of these documents have been updated, translated into seven languages pursuant to the EEOC's Limited English Proficiency plan, and posted on EEOC's website at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/index.cfm.gov.

No Cost Outreach Program
EEOC's no cost outreach program provides valuable information about the agency's mission, the employment discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC, and the national focus and priorities under the agency's Strategic Plan and Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). EEOC representatives are available to staff information booths at events, make presentations, and participate in meetings, conferences, and seminars with employee and employer groups. Audiences include professional associations, non-profit entities, community organizations, and other stakeholders. In line with the Strategic Plan and SEP, the EEOC's outreach efforts include a focus on developing and maintaining partnerships with organizations and groups that represent the interests of small business and vulnerable workers.

EEOC ensures that it provides education and outreach to underserved geographic areas and communities by onsite visits where staff give presentations, provide counseling, and in some instances, take charges of employment discrimination as part of the agency's expanded presence efforts. The agency often works with other federal and state partners and consulates to reach particular communities. EEOC provides outreach on topics such as harassment (sexual and non-sexual), barriers to recruitment and hiring, immigrant worker-related employment topics, gender stereotyping, retaliation, disability, pregnancy and reasonable accommodation, equal pay, and many other audience-specific topics that fall under the laws enforced by the agency.

In FY 2013, EEOC offices participated in 3,854 no-cost outreach events that reached nearly 283,000 persons.

EEOC Training Institute
The EEOC Training Institute is managed under a separate statutory authority that enables the agency to offer in-depth and specialized programs on a fee-basis; supplementing the free general informational and outreach activities that are an on-going component of the agency's mission. The Training Institute offers diverse, high quality, reasonably-priced EEO expertise and training products to private sector employers, State and local government personnel, and employees of Federal agencies.

In FY 2013, the Institute trained over 17,000 individuals at more than 370 events. The Training Institute offered the following products/service lines:

  • Technical Assistance Program Seminars (TAPS). The one- and two-day TAP Seminars offered by the Training Institute are responsive to employers' information and training needs. TAP Seminars allow EEOC to educate employers and employees about identifying and preventing workplace discrimination. In FY 2013, 30 TAPS were conducted throughout the country with nearly 5,400 participants.
  • National Federal Sector Conference. An annual national federal sector conference, the Examining Conflicts in Employment Laws (EXCEL) Conference, has become a widely anticipated and highly acclaimed event for Federal EEO managers, attorneys, union officials, and other EEO professionals.
  • Customer Specific Training. The Customer Specific Training (CST) program trains employees, managers, supervisors, and human resource professionals from large, mid-size, and small employers. Topics include EEO responsibilities and preventing and correcting workplace discrimination. Employers can choose either standardized courses or customized courses designed by the Institute and delivered at employers' worksites. In FY 2013, the Training Institute held 121 field CST events that reached approximately 5,600 attendees.
  • Federal Courses and CSTs. In addition to the EXCEL conference, courses covering skills training for Federal investigators, mediators, and counselors are presented and funded through the Revolving Fund. In FY 2013, more than 800 individuals attended federal courses offered by the Training Institute. There were also 85 federal CSTs conducted during the year.
  • Other Products. An array of products are available in print and electronic formats including the "ABC of EEO for Small Business and Supervisors," "Workplace Harassment Issues an Essential Guide," and accompanying tools. For more information, go to: http://www.eeotraining.eeoc.gov/.

In FY 2014, the Training Institute is offering over 30 single and multi-day TAPS programs around the country. Additionally, the 2014 EXCEL Training Conference will be held August 12-14, in San Diego, California. Throughout the year, many other training opportunities are offered through our Federal Courses and CSTs.

3.4 Future Considerations for Improved Transparency

Communications and Media
EEOC's Office of Communication and Legislative Affairs (OCLA) provides relevant information to the general public, including media reporters, stakeholders, and citizens and engages in two-way interactions with the public routinely as it publicizes agency news and information. OCLA recognizes the importance of engagement with the general public and is, accordingly, leading the effort to develop the agency's social media policies and for using modern technology and tools; monitoring and updating content on the agency's website, located at www.eeoc.gov. However, new technology has enhanced the way information is shared, thereby establishing a new framework for external public engagement. In addition to making more information available through new and existing deployment tools, EEOC has:

  • Posted video of Commission meetings after each session, accompanied by a news release highlighting the key issues covered during the public meeting.
  • Started using video as a platform for providing information to the public via our EEOC YouTube channel.
  • Post archived videos and information, such as Public Service Announcements and past historical content, to our YouTube channel..
  • Used social media to publicize and keep abreast of the events taking place throughout the agency, including Twitter and Facebook.

EEOC plans to:

  • Post an online calendar of public speaking engagements and events, as well as EEOC outreach events. Explore the creation of e-mail-based subscriptions to EEOC information to inform the public of significant actions and Commission business.

High Value Data Sets
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, requires employers to make and keep records and reports relevant to a determination of whether unlawful employment practices have been or are being committed. As part of its mandate under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, EEOC requires periodic reports from public and private employers, referral unions, and labor organizations indicating the composition of their workforces' by sex, race, and ethnicity. The individual reports are confidential. In addition to the EEO-1 summary data sets that are currently available from 1996 to 2012 (see also, High value aggregated data sets on Data.gov, page 6, above), EEOC plans to make the following information available in an electronic, open format within a six-month period as survey processing is completed:

  • EEO-3. Referral Union data, collected in every even calendar year, from local referral unions will be posted in FY 2014. The local provides information about membership and referrals by gender, race, and ethnicity. Nearly 1,500 local referral unions file EEO-3 reports. Aggregated figures will be posted, electronically, in mid-FY 2014 for the first time since 2012.
  • EEO-4. State and Local data, collected in odd-numbered years will be posted in FY 2015. EEOC collects labor force data from State and local governments with 100 or more employees within 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Approximately 8,000 reporting jurisdictions provide workforce information by job group, salary range, and by gender, race, and ethnicity. Aggregated numbers have been posted, electronically, since 2005. Additionally, the agency will continue to provide special aggregated salary data, electronically, to the public through Data.gov in FY 2015, based on 2013 State and local government surveys.
  • EEO-5. Elementary and Secondary School data, collected in even numbered years, covering all public elementary and secondary school districts with 100 or more employees in the United States was posted on March 31, 2014. EEOC administers the EEO-5 in conjunction with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Education. Approximately, 7,500 school districts provide information about employment within detailed job groups by gender, race, and ethnicity. Aggregated figures have been posted, electronically on EEOC's website, http://www.eeoc.gov, since 2010.

4. The Value of Public Participation

Citizens should have opportunities to meaningfully participate in their government's work. This means that the Government should actively solicit citizen input in its solicitations and internal rulemaking. As more fully described below, EEOC has a variety of mechanism for reaching out and engaging the public that we serve.

4.1 Opportunities for Public Comment and Engagement with EEOC

There are several ways the public provides input to EEOC:

  • EEOC has an Intake Information Group (IIG), which receives all calls from the public made to 1-800-669-4000 and 1-800-669-6820 (TTY). The IIG also receives e-mail from the public addressed to info@eeoc.gov. The IIG is staffed by Intake Information Representatives (IIRs) in 15 locations across the country and supported by resources in the Office of Field Programs. The IIRs provide information about the laws enforced by EEOC and how to file a charge of discrimination. They also refer Charging Parties to the appropriate field office for information about the status of their charges and to headquarters offices for assistance, as appropriate. The IIG also refers individuals to the appropriate Federal, State, or local agency if EEOC is not the right agency to address their concerns.
  • In formal rulemakings, members of the public submit written comments on the proposed rule by hard copy, fax, or on the Internet through the e-Rulemaking portal - Regulations.gov. The attorney-advisors responsible for the particular rulemaking read and summarize these comments.
  • EEOC has also provided other opportunities for the public to comment in person about proposed rules via public Town Hall "Listening Sessions," held by EEOC Commissioners, at which members of the public can comment on agency rulemakings.
  • The public is encouraged to provide written comments to EEOC about proposed survey or data collection instruments; e.g., the EEO-1 survey of private sector employers, which are reviewed by survey processing staff and EEOC attorneys involved with the modification of these surveys.
  • EEOC attorneys' staff public telephone lines (Attorney of the Day) so that members of the public may ask questions or discuss issues with attorneys and staff.
  • EEOC's Office of Legal Counsel receives and reviews all emails submitted by members of the public through an email address, which is provided on the bottom of the agency's website page titled "EEOC List of Guidance Documents in response to Office of Management and Budget Final Bulletin for Agency Good Guidance Practices." On this page, the agency invites the public to submit comments concerning policy documents, and also to communicate requests for EEOC to issue, reconsider, modify, or rescind a guidance document.
  • EEOC staff engages in extensive public speaking with agency stakeholders, labor and employment attorneys, and others. These speaking engagements usually involve "Question and Answer" periods and/or dialogue with the attendees, providing an important opportunity for EEOC to obtain public input.
  • The EEOC FOIA Requester Center (FRSC) and FOIA Public Liaison are located at headquarters. The staff of the FRSC responds to requester questions concerning the status of FOIA requests, and questions from the general public concerning records disclosure under FOIA and Section 83 of Volume 1 of the EEOC Compliance Manual.
  • EEOC launched a second Requester Service Center in the Los Angeles District Office in January 2013, which has as its primary focus responding to requester and public inquiries concerning records disclosure and the status of Section 83 requests.

4.2 Future Considerations for Improved Participation

  • EEOC will explore ways to allow the public to comment on our regulations without waiting for notice in the Federal Register.
  • EEOC plans to hold additional Town Hall meetings to engage public discourse on recent and ongoing reforms to the EEOC's processes.
  • EEOC has developed and implemented a plan to utilize social media (e.g., Twitter and Facebook), to encourage a dialogue with the public about Commission issues.
  • EEOC will expand the use of Twitter and Facebook with stakeholders and the public.

5. Why Collaboration is Important

Collaboration between agencies and its constituents is often conducted through comments on proposed rulemaking and advisory councils. EEOC also believes that citizen participation is important, and a deep and ongoing collaboration with its constituents helps the agency become more responsive and accountable to our constituents.

The public can learn about existing collaborative efforts by the agency on our Open Government page, located at http://eeoc.gov/open/index.cfm. The agency's Open Government Plan page provides additional links to the data referenced in this Plan, it also highlights other Open Government activities, and all activities as they relate to transparency, participation, and collaboration at EEOC.

5.1 Collaborative Efforts to Date

Federal laws concerning workplace discrimination are enforced by different Federal agencies. EEOC is responsible for coordinating the Federal Government's employment non-discrimination effort. Under Executive Order 12067, EEOC has responsibility for enforcing all Federal EEO laws and the duty to coordinate and lead the Federal government's effort to eradicate workplace discrimination. For example, in FY 2014, the Office of Federal Operations shared with stakeholders the draft EEO Management Directive 110 (covering the federal sector EEO process). The Office of Federal Operations received over 700 comments from federal sector stakeholders. Comments received from the public are available on Regulations.gov. As part of the administrative process, comments will be evaluated and appropriately incorporated into the Management Directive prior to the Commission vote on its approval.

EEOC reviews regulations and other EEO policy-related documents before they are issued to ensure consistency in the Federal government's effort to combat workplace discrimination. In conducting its outreach, education, and technical assistance activities, EEOC frequently partners with other Federal agencies, the State and local FEPAs, civil rights and advocacy groups, bar associations, and a variety of community organizations.

Internal Collaboration Tools
In FY 2013, EEOC redesigned and updated our intranet site, inSite, to provide internal customer-based focus and format and place content management for the site in the hands of the program offices.

EEOC also uses a Document Management System to provide secure, centralized access to electronic documents. These electronic repositories are currently in use with our Federal Sector Appeals program, Federal Hearings program, and major litigation cases. As efforts progress related to our Digital Charge System (see Section 2, above), electronic document management will be augmented with electronic workflow to bring more efficiency and collaboration into our internal processes. The introduction of electronic records management in FYs 2015 and 2016 will also ease burdens related to archive and disposal requirements.

In addition, EEOC uses web-based conferencing tools and video teleconferencing to facilitate group meetings, training, conferences, and other sessions and events that require remote and cross-office participation and collaboration.

Collaboration with FEPAs
EEOC partners with State and local FEPAs and Tribal Employment Rights Organizations (TEROs). EEOC's relationship with FEPAs derives from section 706(c) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This provision requires that EEOC defer to the State or local agency if a State or local law prohibits the alleged unlawful employment discriminatory policy or practice, and there is a State or local entity to enforce that law. To avoid duplication of effort in jurisdictions where both the EEOC and a FEPA are responsible for receiving, processing, and resolving charges of employment discrimination, EEOC and FEPAs negotiate cooperative work sharing agreements to identify which agency will initially investigate and resolve a charge. EEOC contracts with 92 FEPAS and 64 TEROs. EEOC also engages in additional collaborative efforts with the FEPAs and the TEROs.

  • EEOC hosts a FEPA conference annually. The conference is attended by EEOC District Directors and State and Local Coordinators, FEPA directors, and in some instances, members of their staff. The purpose of the conference is to provide training and updates for the FEPAs on legal, policy, operational, and legislative issues. The conference also serves as a forum to plan joint activities and initiatives for the coming year.
  • EEOC and the FEPAs have established the EEOC/FEPA Joint Standing Committee to discuss and decide various issues unique to the EEOC/FEPA relationship. The Committee convenes several times per year via telephone conference call whenever specific issues arise that may affect the FEPA community, as well as on other occasions when interaction is appropriate.
  • EEOC has worked with FEPAs to develop a FEPA engagement plan that outlines how FEPAs will further the implementation of the Strategic Enforcement Plan's enforcement priorities. In FY 2014, EEOC District Offices are working closely with their local FEPAs to identify and undertake joint enforcement, outreach, and training activities in support of EEOC's national enforcement priorities, as well as those priorities unique to the geographical region of the District Offices.
  • FEPA staff participates in training offered to EEOC employees in the District offices. FEPAs also participate with EEOC staff in local outreach events.
  • EEOC District Directors and State and Local Coordinators conduct regular meetings with the FEPAs in their jurisdictions to discuss local issues.
  • EEOC's Director of the Office of Field Programs (OFP) sends email alerts to all FEPA directors to keep them informed of any developments that affect our relationship with them; including issues related to the approval and issuance of contracts, conference-related issues, and changes in policies or procedures that will have an impact on the FEPA/EEOC relationship.
  • EEOC District Offices meet with TEROs in their districts to ensure that Native Americans living on or near a reservation are aware of their EEO rights, and to process complaints of discrimination.

Collaboration with Other Federal Agencies
To ensure the effective use of federal resources, the Commission has made an effort to collaborate with other federal agencies to maximize the impact of governmentwide civil rights enforcement, eliminate inefficiency, and reduce compliance burdens. In recent years, EEOC has participated in a number of interagency partnerships, including the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Working Group, (www.whitehouse.gov/aapi), the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/onap/nhas), the Federal Interagency Reentry Council (www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/interagency/reentry_council.cfm), the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking and Senior Policy Operating Group, and the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force.

The Commission is also an integral member of the Interagency Workgroup on Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian Issues, a group comprised of representatives from various Federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice. Workgroup members meet with leaders of various community and advocacy groups to discuss pertinent issues facing these stakeholders.

EEOC has worked closely with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs in the U.S. Department of Labor to identify appropriate areas for joint law enforcement activity. A standing working group has been established that will implement recommendations for increased coordination and collaboration (including charge referrals and possible joint investigations, training, and enforcement guidance).

EEOC engages in comprehensive and ongoing dialogue with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on a wide variety of Federal workforce issues. EEOC and OPM hold regular meetings and collaborate on such issues as the coordination of the review of OPM occupational codes, development of the special EEO file for the decennial census, sharing their respective agency annual reports prior to publication, and the development of training for federal employees. Additionally, and as appropriate to the new Memorandum of Understanding signed and implemented in January 2014, EEOC will coordinate with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel to follow up on prohibited personnel practices that have inter-agency implications.

Collaboration with Stakeholders
EEOC is committed to proactively reaching out to stakeholders and the public to obtain their feedback concerning the information and services we provide. Below are several examples of ongoing efforts to engage our customers and stakeholders.

  • As part of Strategic Enforcement Plan implementation, the agency also developed a Federal Sector Complement Plan (FCP) to identify any enforcement priorities specific to the federal sector and separate District Complement Plans (DCPs) for each of EEOC's 15 districts to identify enforcement priorities specific to a particular region of the country. During the development process, EEOC consulted with its federal, and state and local stakeholders, and sought public input in the formulation of these plans. The FCP was approved by the Commission on July 30, 2013 and is located at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/federal_complement_plan.cfm. The DCPs were approved on November 15, 2013.
  • EEOC's Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016 required the development of a Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) to identify national enforcement and operational priorities. EEOC solicited views about what national priorities would have the greatest impact in combating discrimination in the workplace and recommendations for improving agency enforcement, outreach, and customer service.

    The agency received extensive comments from more than 100 individuals, organizations, and coalitions internal and external to the agency and from across the nation. A public meeting held by the Commission on July 18, 2012, provided input from more than 30 private, public and federal stakeholders, including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; the National Immigration Law Center; the National Small Business Association; the Employment Law Center; the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities; the Illinois Department of Human Rights; Marguiles Employment Law Consulting; Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants, Inc.; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the AFGE/AFL-CIO; the National Coalition for Equity in Public Service; the Federal Disability Workforce Consortium; the Federal Employment Law Training Group; the U.S. Department of the Interior; the Federal GLOBE; the U.S. Office of Special Counsel; and the National Council of EEOC Locals. The SEP was approved by the Commission on December 17, 2012, and is available on EEOC's website at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/sep.cfm.

  • On July 25, 2012, the Commission issued a Final Rule Revising Federal Sector's the Equal Employment Opportunity Complaint Process under 29 C.F.R. Part 1614, which modified certain aspects of the Federal Sector complaint process used by federal employees and applicants. The final rule was coordinated with other Federal agencies and reviewed by OMB and is located at http://www.eeoc.gov//laws/regulations/finalrule_qanda_revision.cfm.

    In response to stakeholder concerns with certain elements of the process, EEOC held a public meeting on Federal Sector reform. It also established a Commissioner-led internal Federal Sector Workgroup to obtain suggestions for reform from complainants, agencies, unions, civil rights groups, and other stakeholders. This final rule resulted from the recommendations of the workgroup and comments EEOC received from the public and during the Federal inter-agency coordination process.

  • On April 25, 2012, the Commission voted and issued its Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. For more information, go to http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm. This guidance is designed to be a resource for employers, employment agencies, and unions covered by Title VII, for applicants and employees, and for EEOC enforcement staff. The Commission received input from advocates, the business community, and the public. Previously, representatives of employers, individuals with criminal records, and other Federal agencies testified at public EEOC meetings on this subject held in November 2008 and July 2011.

    In advance of this public meeting, the Commission received and reviewed approximately 300 written comments from members of the general public and stakeholder groups. Stakeholders that provided statements to express their interests and concerns included: the NAACP; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM); the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; the American Insurance Association; the Retail Industry Leaders Association; the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia; the National Employment Law Project; and the Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC). During the drafting process, Commissioners and staff met with representatives from various stakeholder groups to obtain more focused feedback from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; SHRM; the HR Policy Association; the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources; the National Employment Law Project, and the EEAC.

  • On March 29, 2012, EEOC issued a Final Rule on Reasonable Factors Other Than Age under the ADEA of 1967. The final rule was coordinated with other Federal agencies and reviewed by OMB, and is located at http://www.eeoc.gov//eeoc/newsroom/release/3-29-12.cfm. Previously, the Commission has held public meetings focused on age discrimination and older worker unemployment in July 2009 and November 2010.

Meetings of the Commission
The Commission often holds public meetings on workplace discrimination issues on the third Wednesday of each month. In addition to the meetings identified above, the Commission has recently held meetings and received testimony on the following:

MEETING DATE(S) OPEN SESSION SUBJECT MATTER AVAILABLE TRANSCRIPTS
March 12, 2014 Social Media in the Workplace: Examining Implications for Equal Employment Opportunity Law http://www.eeoc.gov//eeoc/meetings/3-12-14/index.cfm
November 13, 2013 National Origin Discrimination in Today's Workplace http://www.eeoc.gov//eeoc/meetings/11-13-13/index.cfm
May 8, 2013 Wellness Programs Under Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws http://www.eeoc.gov//eeoc/meetings/5-8-13/index.cfm
February 20, 2013 Report on Implementation of the EEOC's Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016 http://www.eeoc.gov//eeoc/meetings/2-20-13/index.cfm
July 18, 2012 Public Input into the Development of EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/7-18-12/index.cfm
April 25, 2012 Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Correction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 http://www.eeoc.gov//eeoc/meetings/4-25-12/index.cfm
February 22, 2012 EEOC Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016 http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/2-22-12/index.cfm
February 15, 2012 Unlawful Discrimination Against Pregnant Workers and Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/2-15-12/index.cfm

The Commission invites audience members, as well as other members of the public, to submit written comments on any issues or matters discussed at these public meetings. Public comments are directed to be sent to: Commission Meeting, EEOC Executive Officer, 131 M Street NE, Washington, DC 20507, or emailed to Commissionmeetingcomments@eeoc.gov.

All comments received are made available to members of the Commission and to Commission staff working on the matter(s) discussed at the meeting. Comments are also placed in EEOC's Library for public review. Commission meeting agendas are normally announced in the Federal Register at least one week in advance of the meeting. For additional video, meeting transcripts, press releases, and more information on the content of any publically-held Commission meetings, go to http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/index.cfm.

5.2 Future Consideration for Increased Collaboration

Proposed Collaboration with Academia
EEO DATANet Conference - Building Community and Capacity Programs. On May 13-14, 2014 at EEOC headquarters, EEOC staff jointly sponsored the First Annual EEO DATANET Conference funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation's Building Data Capacity Program via a grant to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. This project will accomplish two tasks. The first is to create an interdisciplinary social science network to advance organizational-level analyses of employment dynamics. The second is to create a mechanism for allowing access to EEOC data while maintaining its statutorily required confidentiality. The overall goal is to provide large scale data capacity and access to future generations of scientists and policy makers, with information spillovers to citizens and employers.

The research network will collaborate in the development and scientific use of data collected by EEOC. Since 1966, EEOC has collected panel data on employment patterns from private sector workplaces, referral unions, state and local governments, and elementary and secondary schools. Collectively, these represent the largest and longest collection of organizational panel datasets in the world and are an extraordinary source of data for scientific and policy studies of organizational employment dynamics.

Network participants were from the University of Massachusetts; Amherst; Cornell University; Pennsylvania State University; University of California, Irvine; Tel Aviv University; University of Arkansas; Washington University Law and Sociology; Pittsburgh State University; University of Virginia; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of Illinois; Northwestern University; Ohio State University; Mississippi State University; University of Michigan, Law; University of Texas at Dallas; Youngstown State University; the U.S. Departments of Labor; the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Office of Personnel Management.

Proposed Collaboration with Other Agencies
EEOC is exploring potential technology solutions to make information contained in its Office of Equal Opportunity reports and EEOC policies available to other Federal agencies seeking to establish similar programs or better understand the internal operations of the agency.

Pilot Cloud-Based Collaboration Tools
Making use of "cloud computing" will introduce sophisticated capabilities for minimal investment, allowing EEOC to work with stakeholder partners to define the end state and rapidly generate requirements. EEOC will leverage technology, including the use of cloud computing capabilities, to enable more efficient collaboration between EEOC and other federal agencies. In FY 2013, EEOC implemented the Federal Sector EEOC Portal (FedSEP) to automate the submission of agency demographic data, compliance plans, and other workforce data (MD-715) into a central data repository; replacing the prior paper-based submission process. We also began testing and piloting the import of Federal Form 462 EEO complaint data directly into FedSEP. In FYs 2014 and 2015, we will build upon this foundation by integrating IMS hearings and appeals, along with OPM data and census into the system. FedSEP will allow EEOC to perform more meaningful comparative analyses of federal agencies' EEO and affirmative employment programs, along with complaint and OPM data, to better identify potentially discriminatory policies and practices in federal agencies, and coordinate action plans to address these barriers.

6. EEOC's Flagship Initiative: Online Case Status

EEOC plans to create a Web-based program that will allow parties in private sector charges and federal sector parties at the hearing or appeal stages to check the status of their cases online, and provide other interactive customer-service features.

Overview
Currently, in the private sector process, the parties to a charge can learn the status of their charge by contacting the Investigator handling that charge, or calling the Intake Information Group (IIG). Parties in the federal sector obtain the status of their complaint from the Administrative Judge at the hearing phase, or from the Office of Federal Operations (OFO) on appeal. Although these procedures are in place to help parties learn the status of their cases, there may be lengthy delays in providing a response due to the large volume of charges/cases the Commission processes each year.

Improved Agency Operations through Transparency, Participation, and Collaboration
By allowing status checks to be conducted online with 24/7 access, the Commission would save the time and resources it currently devotes to responding to status requests. In addition, it would provide enhanced customer service to the public by making information available when it is most needed; providing the opportunity for other related information such as an explanation of the process or the next steps in the investigation to be made. In the Federal Sector, status checks made by telephone to OFO are handled by staff attorneys and non-legal staff. Providing a Web-based system for status checks would allow them to perform more specialized duties such as drafting appellate decisions and providing agencies feedback on their MD-715 or Form 462 report submissions. On average, OFO receives 6,000 calls from federal sector parties each year and approximately one-third, or 2000, of those calls involve status checks.

  • Transparency. Providing affected parties the option to check the status of their cases online provides transparency throughout the administrative process and also provides faster access to more convenience to all interested parties.
  • Participation. Allowing affected parties to conduct status checks online makes the development and incorporation of more customer-centered user elements more likely and feasible. For example, links to other sections of EEOC's website, the IIG's toll-free number, or email addresses could be incorporated into this online program. A link to the IIG may also make it easier for parties to submit questions online for referral to the appropriate office. The online system could also provide an easy tool for users to verify and update their contact information.
  • Collaboration. Our goal is to incorporate status-checks of complaint processing by respondent agencies.

Engaging the Public and Maintaining Dialogue with Interested Parties Who Could Contribute Innovative Ideas to the Initiative
EEOC will explore the feasibility of providing a means for parties to provide feedback on their experience with the complaint- or charge-process, either during or after the process. We may also include a "comment" section that would allow users to suggest ideas on how to improve the interface.

Measuring Improved Transparency, Participation, and/or Collaboration
EEOC will monitor the number of status inquiries made through the online program, and through more traditional means. The data collected with the online system will indicate what percentages of inquiries are made through the new system, and whether there is an overall increase or decrease in the number of inquiries. We will also measure requests made specifically as a result of certain publicity efforts. We will also obtain ratings from the user, based on as ease of use, helpfulness in answering questions, and similar criteria.

Steps to Make the Initiative Sustainable and Allow for Continued Improvement
EEOC will continue to assess the ongoing costs associated with this initiative to ensure that fiscal resources are effectively addressed during the agency's budget process. We will also explore whether it is feasible to expand the program to include other types of inquiries and mechanisms for feedback from interested parties.

7. Public and Agency Involvement in EEOC's Open Government Planning

The agency's Open Government Page, located at Open Government Initiative, includes a feedback form to solicit suggestions and comments from the public on the quality of our published information, the information we should prioritize for future publication, and on the content of our Open Government Plan.

In addition, the agency has posted a notice on our internal website (InSite) to inform EEOC staff about the Open Government Initiative and to solicit feedback and input for the agency's Open Government Plan. EEOC tracks and responds to internal and external feedback submitted on the agency's Open Government web page. That feedback will help inform the work we do as we move forward toward advancing the agency's mission to stop and remedy unlawful employment discrimination.

EEOC is committed to exploring new ways of doing business to maximize the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration in everything we do. This Plan begins many new conversations, both within the agency and between the agency and the citizens it serves. The Plan will serve as a roadmap as we learn about new technology tools and think about ways of working and communicating in the future.


APPENDIX I

EEOC Congressional Request Program

Congressional Liaison Staffing

EEOC's Congressional request and reporting staff are organized in the Office of Legislative Affairs, a Division in the agency's Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs (OCLA). The Office of Legislative Affairs serves as the agency's link to and for Congress.

Organizational Structure

The current staff complement for the Office of Legislative Affairs includes a Division Director and three congressional liaison specialists. Approximately two-thirds of legislative affairs resources are devoted to responding to written and telephone inquiries from Members of Congress and their staffs. In addition to facilitating congressional communications, office resources are spent transmitting reports and updates to Congress and conducting outreach activities for Hill staff. Currently, three congressional liaisons are responsible for managing the flow of congressional communications among the EEOC's leadership and program offices throughout the entire agency. Although located in EEOC headquarters in Washington, DC, Legislative Affairs staff is often called on to coordinate congressional communications with the agency's field staff who have direct contact with congressional offices as well as the public.

Congressional and White House Correspondence

To ensure that EEOC achieves its goal of forging greater coordination and consistency in communicating the agency's message, Legislative Affairs coordinates all contacts with Congress and the White House. Legislative Affairs staff tracks and monitors all correspondence from Congress and the White House, as well as congressional correspondence received directly by field offices. Each year, Legislative Affairs staff receives, processes, and reviews an average of 1,000 written Congressional and White House inquiries.

Most of OCLA's correspondence is inquiries from Congress about/on behalf of individual constituents and the status of their complaints and/or enforcement proceedings. As such, OCLA is bound by the confidentiality/privacy provisions under Title VII and the Privacy Act from making these communications public. However, the information contained in correspondence from Congress is subject to FOIA. FOIA requests concerning congressional correspondence with individual Members of Congress are processed and forwarded by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). Legislative Affairs staff assembles the requested documents for review and redaction by OLC, as appropriate. Otherwise, almost all of OCLA's correspondence is considered confidential and cannot be made available to the general public.

Telephone Inquiries

Congressional offices often handle their casework inquiries by phone. Historically, these contacts have averaged from 500 to 2,000 such inquiries annually. Additionally, Legislative Affairs staff responds to calls received directly from members of the public in follow-up to Congressional inquiries or as referrals by Congressional offices.

Outreach

To keep Congress apprised of the Commission and its enforcement efforts, Legislative Affairs staff undertakes a variety of outreach activities - in coordination with other EEOC program and field offices. These activities include:

  • Visits and mailings to offices of new Members - general EEOC materials are provided and staff contacts identified;
  • Meetings and briefings scheduled with House and Senate oversight and authorizing committee staff with more detailed information packets provided; and
  • Regular mailings of materials such as press releases, fact sheets and other information to keep key staff up-to-date on Commission policy initiatives and enforcement actions and results.
  • Development of webpage on the agency's public website, http://www.eeoc.gov/, targeted to congressional offices aimed at facilitating efficient and effective communications with congressional staff.
  • Development of an agency primer (EEOC 101) to provide new/incoming congressional staff with information about the EEOC's mission, operations and activities, as well as contact information to facilitate their communication with the agency's legislative affairs staff.

GAO

As the agency's point of contact for Congress, Legislative Affairs staff coordinates all activity between the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, and the agency. This function includes coordinating review and comment on GAO reports; all meetings and interviews with EEOC staff by GAO; and all GAO document and information requests.

Most of the communications with Legislative Affairs staff take place directly with the Congress and the White House and their respective staffs. Occasionally, the Legislative Affairs office receives requests from researchers concerning appropriations and budget documents, which are already posted on eeoc.gov. Further information with respect to the agency's budget, is referred to the EEOC Office of the Chief Financial Officer, the primary source of specific or detailed budget information in our communications with the Hill and with the White House.


APPENDIX II

EEOC FOIA Program

FOIA Staffing

In FY 2013, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had the equivalent of 38.93 full-time employees engaged in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process.

  • At Headquarters, five dedicated full-time employees and the equivalent of 1.06 other full-time employees who process appeals were employed in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).1
  • In the Field, an additional 25 dedicated full-time employees and the equivalent of 7.87 other full-time employees were employed in the 16 Field FOIA units for a total of 32.87 employees.

In 2007, EEOC created two dedicated FOIA positions, a Records Disclosure Coordinator position (Information Specialist, GS-09) and a Records Disclosure Assistant (Office Automation Assistant, GS-05). EEOC authorized the staffing of 31 such positions, allocated among the field offices based on the size of their records disclosure workload. This allocation resulted in each District Office being assigned at least one Records Disclosure Coordinator. Three Districts with the largest records disclosure workloads were assigned a second Coordinator. Nine Districts were assigned a Records Disclosure Assistant, and four Districts were assigned a second Records Disclosure Assistant. In some instances, staff is located in field or area offices reporting to the District Office.

Organizational Structure

The Legal Counsel, who is the Chief FOIA Officer, has responsibility for all EEOC FOIA administration under the Chair's direction. At Headquarters, FOIA staff is employed in Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).

The Legal Counsel, the Assistant Legal Counsel, FOIA Programs, the FOIA Requester Service Center (FRSC), FOIA Programs, FOIA Public Liaison (FPL), and the attorneys who process FOIA appeals all are part of OLC. OLC processes all initial requests for records or information from EEOC Headquarters offices, and for all requests for records the location of which is not known.

The FRSC and the FPL, which are required by statute, are also located in OLC. FOIA professionals and the Assistant Legal Counsel for FOIA Programs perform these two functions. The Assistant Legal Counsel for FOIA Programs also supervises the FRSC. The FPL helps requesters resolve FOIA disputes with EEOC. The Public Liaison also trains the staff of the FRSC, manages and monitors training, increases transparency, reduces the agency backlog, and helps the Chief FOIA Officer to improve FOIA services.

In the field, FOIA staff is employed in 15 EEOC District Offices across the nation and in the Washington, D.C. Field Office (WFO). EEOC District Office Directors report to the Director of the Office of Field Programs at Headquarters who, in turn, reports to the Chair. District Office Directors or their designees and the WFO Director or designee has delegated authority to determine FOIA requests within the jurisdictional boundaries of their offices for records or information involving:

  • Private sector employment discrimination charges;
  • Non-confidential charge processing statistics;
  • Fair Employment Practice agencies;
  • Past and present employees.

FOIA appeals from District or WFO Directors' initial determinations are made to OLC and are determined by the Assistant Legal Counsel, FOIA Programs. Appeals from initial Headquarters FOIA determinations made by the Assistant Legal Counsel, FOIA Programs, are made to OLC and are determined by the Assistant Legal Counsel, Advice and External Litigation Division. See below for details about FOIA appeals.

Process for Analyzing and Responding to FOIA Requests

FOIA requests may be submitted online to EEOC Headquarters at https://egov.EEOC.gov/foia. FOIA requests and appeals may also be submitted to Headquarters by fax at (202) 663-4679, by email to FOIA@eeoc.gov, or by U.S. mail to EEOC, Office of Legal Counsel, 131 M Street NE, Washington, DC 20507.

FOIA requests may be submitted directly to the appropriate District Office by U.S. mail, email, or fax to the address listed on EEOC's public website at http://www.EEOC.gov, and on each District Office's web page under the rubric "FOIA."

The FOIA Tracking System (FTS) is EEOC's first unified agencywide FOIA tracking system. All FTS activity is monitored by FOIA Programs in OLC to ensure that:

  • FOIA data is timely and accurately entered into FTS;
  • FOIA requests are processed timely; and
  • FTS problems are resolved promptly and properly.

Each FOIA component tracks and enters its Office's FOIA activity into FTS.

Requesters who file requests via the Internet can track the progress of their requests online. FTS provides the requester with a confirmation number that can be used to access the status of the request.

Requesters who file their request by mail, fax, or email may request a status update by contacting an EEOC Requester Service Center, which provides customer service to FOIA requesters and other persons seeking information about FOIA. The original FOIA Requester Service Center opened in 2005 in OLC and can be reached by telephone at (202) 663-4500, by fax at (202) 663-4679, by email at FOIA@eeoc.gov, by U.S. mail at the EEOC Headquarters' address in Washington, D.C., or through the FPL at (202) 663-4634.

A second Requester Service Center was opened in 2013 at the Los Angeles District Office. This center will provide service to people seeking information under the FOIA or Section 83 of the EEOC Compliance Manual. The Los Angeles Requester Service Center can be reached at (877) 403-8609 or by email at LOSAFOIA@eeoc.gov. Both Requester Service Centers are accessible by telephone toll-free at (877) 869-1802.

Process for Requests

Upon receipt, a request identified on the envelope or other cover as a "Freedom of Information Act," or FOIA request, is logged into FTS, assigned a unique FOIA tracking number, and reviewed to determine whether it is perfected or unperfected. A request is perfected when it reasonably describes the records sought and complies with the FOIA and EEOC regulations.

  • When a request is perfected, it is assigned to the appropriate office or person for processing.

As required by statute and EEOC policy, all FOIAs are acknowledged in writing within 10 business days of receipt. The acknowledgement conveys to the requester the date of receipt, the date the requester may expect EEOC's response, and the contact name and telephone number of the person who will process the request.

  • When the request is unperfected, the requester is advised of this in the acknowledgment letter and is advised that EEOC's timeframe to respond to the request will not begin until it is perfected.
  • If the request is not perfected within 30 days, the requester is notified in writing that the request is administratively closed.
  • If a request is not perfected because it is unclear, the requester is contacted in writing to request clarifying information. This letter advises that the statutory, 20-business day processing period is tolled until the requester responds to EEOC. When a requester fails to respond to a toll notice within 30 days, the requester is notified that the request is administratively closed.

If a request has been misdirected to an incorrect FOIA office, it must be forwarded to the correct FOIA office within 10 business days of its receipt or, on the 11th day, the statutory 20-business days to respond begins to run. The incorrect receiving office issues an acknowledgment letter advising the requester that the request was sent to the incorrect FOIA office, that a tracking number has been assigned to it, and that it has been forwarded to the correct FOIA office to the attention of the contact person for that office.

  • Upon receipt, the correct FOIA office sends an acknowledgment letter providing the date of receipt, the expected date of completion, and the name of a contact person.

When a request is perfected, the FOIA professional initiates a search for records responsive to the request by retrieving or requesting the specified investigative charge file from their file room or, if it is a Headquarters request, by contacting those offices believed to have such records.

  • At Headquarters, the request to search for responsive records includes a deadline to timely respond to the FOIA professional's request for records, and advises the office or file room how to respond if the records are extremely voluminous, require the expenditure of an unusual amount of search time or copy fees, or must be obtained from another office, or a federal records center.

The determination on a request to expedite processing of a FOIA request is issued to the requester in writing within 10 calendar days of its receipt. The determination on the request itself is issued as quickly as possible within the statutory 20-business day period.

After the responsive records are received, the FOIA professional reviews the records in accordance with the FOIA, as amended by the OPEN Government Act of 2007, Attorney General Eric Holder's FOIA Guidelines issued in March 2009, OIP guidance, and EEOC statutes, regulations, policies, and procedures, to determine which records are discloseable in full or in part. The FOIA professional makes the redactions as necessary, and produces the records in the format chosen by the requester, if the records are readily reproducible by EEOC in the chosen format.

In unusual circumstances, additional time is required to process the request because it is voluminous, responsive records must be obtained from another facility, or the records are in consultation. The FOIA professional notifies the requester in writing prior to the expiration of the statutory 20-business days that the EEOC will take a 10-business day extension and the reason for the extension. The FOIA professional may also notify the requester of potential fees and ask the requester to narrow the scope of the request.

In exceptional circumstances, more than 10 additional business days will be needed to process a voluminous or complex request. In these instances, the FOIA professional will contact the requester to attempt to negotiate a modification of the request, rolling disclosures, or an agreement to an alternate response timeframe.

If the request is for Headquarters records, the FOIA professional prepares a determination letter for review and signature by the Assistant Legal Counsel FOIA Programs. For District Office FOIA requests, the District Director or designee reviews and signs the determination letters. These letters include the name, title, and email address of the person who signs the determination letter.

  • A determination letter transmits to the requester the agency decision to either grant or deny the request in full or in part, a notice of any fees assessed and, if it is less than a full grant, the right to an administrative appeal. The determination letter, along with the Comment page and one or more Exemption pages, provide a detailed explanation of the agency's decision.
  • The Comment and Exemption pages describe the agency records withheld, cite the exemptions utilized to withhold or redact certain agency records, and explain the rationale for the actions taken.

The request is then logged into FTS as completed, reflecting the date of the determination, fees assessed, exemptions used, and all other pertinent history and data.

Upon receipt of the assessed fees, the disclosed records are forwarded to the requester.

  • If fees are not paid within 30 days, the requester is notified that the request is administratively closed unless alternate arrangements have been made.

A requester is given 30 days from receipt of the determination to administratively appeal to the Legal Counsel or designee.

Process for Appeals

When an appeal is received in OLC, FOIA Programs, and identified on its envelope or other cover as a "Freedom of Information Act or FOIA Appeal," it is given a unique tracking number, reviewed to determine whether it is a perfected or unperfected, logged into FTS, and assigned to the appropriate person in OLC for processing within the statutory 20-business day period.

Within 10 business days, a letter acknowledging receipt of the appeal, its unique tracking number, the name of the FOIA professional processing the appeal, and a contact telephone number and email address is issued to the requester.

If the appeal is unperfected, the requester is advised of this in the acknowledgment letter and is advised that EEOC's statutory time to respond to the appeal will not begin until it is perfected.

  • An appeal from a District Director's initial FOIA determination is perfected when it includes a copy of the District Director's initial determination and, if the respondent employer is appealing, a copy of the "filed" court complaint.
  • If the appeal is not perfected within 30 days from the issuance of the acknowledgment letter, the requester is sent a letter administratively closing the appeal

Upon receipt of a perfected appeal, FOIA Programs determines whether the agency records withheld below should be forwarded to OLC for review.

  • OLC will not request the records withheld below when the request was denied because it failed to comply with EEOC procedures or policy, the requester is in noncompliance on appeal, the investigation is ongoing, or EEOC is in litigation on the matter.

Where an appeal is sent to the incorrect FOIA office, the initial acknowledgment letter advises the requester of the tracking number assigned to it, that the appeal was forwarded to OLC, FOIA Programs, and the name of the contact person.

Records of the initial FOIA request requested by OLC are reviewed by the assigned FOIA professional to ascertain whether the FOIA request was processed properly.

When additional time is needed to process the appeal, the requester will be notified in writing prior to the expiration of the statutory 20-business days that EEOC will take a 10-business day extension in addition to any time not exhausted below to make its determination on the appeal. The notification will state the reason for the extension.

On review, the FOIA professional prepares a draft determination file consisting of a draft determination letter, Comment Page explaining the Commission's decision on appeal, Exemption page(s) explaining in detail the exemption that permits the action taken and the applicability of the exemption to the records or information withheld, along with other supporting documentation as required. The file is submitted to the Assistant Legal Counsel, FOIA Programs, for review and determination.

  • The draft determination letter affirms, affirms in part, denies, or denies in part the District Director's initial determination and remands the appeal to the field FOIA office that initially processed the request with directions for processing, or administratively closing the appeal.
  • The draft appeal determination advises the requester that the 2007 OPEN Government Act amendments, which created the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) in the National Archives and Records Administration, is available to provide mediation services to requesters and agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation, and of the requester's right to file suit in federal district court. In addition, a copy of the Assistant Legal Counsel's determination on the appeal is shared with the District Office Director and the FOIA staff who processed the initial request as future guidance.

The FOIA appeal is then logged in FTS as completed. The date the determination is issued, the exemptions used, how the exemptions were applied to records withheld or redacted and released on appeal, and other history of the appeal are entered into FTS.

If the requester is dissatisfied with the EEOC determination on appeal, the requester may contact OGIS at the address and telephone number provided in the determination letter and on EEOC's web site to request assistance; including mediation, or alternatively, to file suit against EEOC in federal district court.

Assessment of EEOC's Capacity to Analyze, Coordinate, and Respond to Requests in a Timely Manner

EEOC's capacity to analyze, coordinate, and respond to requests in a timely manner has been affected by the unexpectedly high volume of employment discrimination charges filed with, and closed by, EEOC in recent years. (As EEOC closes these charges, they become eligible for disclosure.) As a result, the number of requests received by the close of fiscal year 2013 increased to 19,055.

During the same period, there has been a steady increase in requests for charge files under Section 83. Because the number of Section 83 requests received increased by over 7,000 requests, EEOC actually received more than 26,000 record disclosure requests. Many of the FOIA field office staff is also responsible for responding to the Section 83 requests.

Several of the 16 Field FOIA components no longer have any dedicated FOIA staff. Many other components are functioning with reduced FOIA staff, staff temporarily detailed to the function, volunteers, or contract hires. Currently, 11 of the 31 dedicated Field FOIA positions created in 2007 are vacant. Given EEOC's limited resources, staffing these vacancies in the foreseeable future will be challenging.

Strengthening the Response Process

To strengthen its FOIA Program, EEOC continues to provide training for all employees in the processing of FOIAs. Areas of concentration include the implementation of revised FOIA procedures such as multi-tracking FOIA requests and providing FOIA libraries online and in the district offices where staff is available to assist the public. Additional training will focus on areas such as: 1) using a presumption of disclosure to increase disclosure of properly discloseable records when exemptions 2, 5, or 7 can be used to withhold records; 2) identifying withheld records correctly and sufficiently in the determination letter; 3) indicating on the records released to the requester at the site of each redaction the amount of information redacted and the exemption justifying the redaction of the record; 4) properly assessing and waiving fees for FOIA/Section 83 services; 5) issuing extension and acknowledgment letters timely; entering into agreements with the requester to adjust the timeframe, including using rolling disclosures to respond to voluminous or complex FOIA requests or appeals; 6) ensuring that all FOIA file documents, from the request to the appeal, are included in the FOIA file; and 7) transmitting files to Headquarters in an electronic format whenever possible.

Training is also provided on enhancements to FTS/or new FOIA tracking software. The emphasis is on preserving the integrity of the data to enhance its reliability and predictability for purposes of generating data for production of the EEOC Annual and Quarterly FOIA Reports and other FOIA reports.

As the overwhelming majority of EEOC's FOIA requests are for private sector investigative charge files - almost 19,000 per year - EEOC has enhanced FTS to access charge data contained in EEOC's Integrated Management System (IMS). Consequently, charge data maintained in IMS is accessible to anyone having IMS and FTS authorization. Upon entering a FOIA request into FTS by its charge file number, data from IMS will automatically populate all the information concerning the charge in FTS, relieving FOIA staff of the task of manually entering this information. IMS will also note the FOIA request in its system, for records retention purposes.

To help improve the FOIA request response time of all offices, it is recommended that the FOIA and Section 83 workload of each office be reviewed to determine whether the office has sufficient staffing. Steps should be taken to assist those offices that do not have sufficient staffing to locate additional staff. Most additional staff will come from temporary assignments of full time employees, volunteers, interns, or contract employees. As an illustration, some of our field FOIA offices regularly enlist the assistance of American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) volunteers, returning veterans, community college students, and legal interns to help process requests.

Backlog

EEOC has redoubled its efforts to reduce its FOIA backlog. In fiscal year 2013, the number of requests not processed within the statutory period was reduced to 190. The average agency request processing time was slightly more than 17.52 days. Fewer than 2 percent, or 370, of these requests were appealed. To reduce FOIA backlogs, OLC routinely employs a variety of options, such as bringing FOIA requests into Headquarters for processing by OLC staff. The Department of Justice recognized the utility of this effort during its 2012 Sunshine Week celebration, and again in its Summary of Agency Chief FOIA Officer Reports for 2012 and Assessment of Agency Progress in Implementing the President's FOIA Memorandum, and the Attorney General's FOIA Guidelines with OIP Guidance for Further Improvement.

To optimize its resources, in FY 2013, EEOC adopted a multi-track approach to processing requests. Upon receipt, FOIA requests will be assigned to one of three tracks for processing: the simple track, complex track, or the expedited track. Multi-tracking requests will permit EEOC to process requests more efficiently.


APPENDIX III

EEOC Records Management Program

Staffing

The Chair, through the Chief Financial Officer, directs the creation and preservation of records containing accurate and complete documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the Commission. The Chair, as the head of the agency, is also responsible for ensuring that all employees are aware of the provisions of the law relating to the unauthorized destruction, alienation, or mutilation of records, and should direct that any such action is reported to them.

Office Directors (Headquarters and Field), through an employee in their office designated by them as their office's records custodian, are responsible for the proper maintenance and disposition of the official records of their offices.

The Chief Financial Officer is responsible for:

  1. Developing Commission-wide policies and procedures for records management;
  2. Administering and evaluating the overall implementation of the Commission's policies and procedures for records management;
  3. Acting, or his or her designee, as liaison with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for direction; and
  4. Arranging training to all Commission managers, supervisors, and employees and contractors on records management.

Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). OLC is responsible for supporting compliance with applicable federal record keeping laws, including the Federal Records Act, the Records Disposal Act, and regulations promulgated by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) pursuant to its authority to govern federal recordkeeping.

Agency Records Officer. The Agency Records Officer is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Commission's records management program.

Records Custodian. Office directors (headquarters and field) will designate a records custodian for their office and notify OCFO of the office name, office address, phone number, fax number, and e-mail address of their designees at least annually. Each records custodian:

  1. Maintains office records in accordance with the provisions of this Order;
  2. Prepares and keeps records plans current;
  3. Ensures that all records created and maintained by the office are included in the file station records plan;
  4. Prepares records, including corresponding paperwork for (SF 135, Records Transmittal and Receipt, and box list; SF 258, Request to Transfer, and box List), shipment to the Federal Records Center;
  5. Destroys eligible records at individual file stations under authorized disposition instructions;
  6. Maintains an inventory of all records belonging to office, including those destroyed, stored in low-cost storage space, and retired to Federal Records Centers annually, for reporting purposes; and
  7. Requests, in coordination with the office director new or revised documentation, maintenance, and disposition instructions to be submitted to NARA for approval through OCFO.

All Employees. All employees who create, use or maintain records are responsible for complying with the provision of this Order.

Life Cycle of All Commission Paper and Electronic Records

The life cycle of all records of the Commission consist of three stages:

  • Creation or receipt;
  • Maintenance and use; and
  • Disposition

Tools for maintaining and using Commission records include file plans, indexes, controlled vocabularies, data dictionaries, and access and security procedures. The main tool to manage the disposition of records of the Commission is Appendix A, Records Control Schedule (RSC) to the Order.

Special attention must be given to electronic records throughout their life cycle. These are records stored in a form that only a computer can process. Their storage media include, but not limited to, compact disks (CD), internal and external drives, cloud storage, data cartridges/tapes and other media. These media may change frequently because of rapidly expanding technologies. Electronic records are increasingly supplementing and replacing paper records.

Simplified Headquarters and Field Office Records Management Requirements

General Records Management Requirements

All headquarters and field offices will at a minimum:

  1. Maintain all administrative and program records in the headquarters and field offices (except litigation and charge files) on a calendar year basis. With the exception of some financial and accounting records, the cutoff date for all records will be December 31, of each year;
  2. Transfer records no longer needed for official EEOC business to a Federal Records Center with the prior approval of OCFO;
  3. Annually inventory office files to identify the types and volume of records in the office, and based on the inventory, implement an annual file maintenance and disposition plan identifying all the files in the office, the filing arrangement, the volume (in cubic feet) for each file and the disposition authority, and forward a copy of the plan to OCFO;
  4. When records are to be transferred to or from the Commission pursuant to a transfer of function with another agency, the Commission office must send to OCFO a request to transfer either by letter or SF 135, Records Transmittal and Receipt, and include the concurrence or non-concurrence by agency officials accompanied by the following information:
    1. A description of the records and the volume (in cubic feet);
    2. Any restrictions on using the records;
    3. The number of persons maintaining the records, if any;
    4. The current and proposed physical and organizational locations of the records;
    5. A statement as to why the transfer is in the interest of the Government; and
    6. A justification for transferring records more than five years old.
  5. Records created, maintained, and stored in electronic media that are subject to this directive, should be managed and retained by one of the following methods:
    1. Printed in hard copy and stored per the above procedures;
    2. Copied to a network share drive for back-up and storage;
    3. Stored in electronic media format (CD, flash drivers, tapes, etc.) in file cabinets, drawer, per the above procedures;
    4. Stored as data within an EEOC information system (database, document management system, etc.) which automates EEOC's record retention policies and schedules.
  6. When a reorganization changes a function or mission of an office, records are cut off on the date of the change, maintained by the successor office, and disposed of under the disposition instructions in this Order; and
  7. When an office discontinues functions, it transfers records eligible for retirement to a Federal Records Center. If records are not eligible for retirement or destruction, the office concerned sends a letter listing the records to OCFO, who will evaluate them and recommend appropriate action.

Appendix A

Appendix A identifies responsibility by office for the official program and administrative records of the Commission. To establish and maintain a method of coordinating and controlling the records of the Commission, the Records Control Schedule (RCS) is required. Appendix A to this Order establishes individual office records management responsibility on a record-by-record basis among the headquarters and field offices. Appendix A answers the question: "Who needs to do what, when, and where?"

Appendix A identifies the offices having primary responsibility for the maintenance and disposal of the official record copy of the program and administrative records of the Commission by records description, including responsibilities for Commission records common to all offices under NARA's General Records Schedule 23, Records Common to Most Offices within Agencies.

The administrative records of the Commission that are maintained and disposed under NARA's general recordkeeping authority are shown by a General Records Schedule (GRS) number and item shown in the Disposal Authority column. The program records of the Commission are shown by the RCS.

Recommending Changes to Appendix A

Offices that create and receive records will submit recommended changes and additions to Appendix A when it does not cover a particular type of paper or electronic record; existing instructions need change; office change; transfer of records; or certain instructions should be deleted. Recommendations are sent to OCFO by a SF 115, Request for Authority to Dispose of Records, SF 115A, Continuation Sheet, if needed. Justification for the addition or change must be submitted along with the SF 115. OCFO will coordinate proposed changes with offices maintaining similar records.

Transferring Records to the Federal Records Center

The National Archives and Records Administration, NARA, operates a system of Federal Records Centers located nationwide. The most significant reason records centers are of great importance in the management of records are the savings in space and equipment costs.

Selecting Files for Transfers

Inactive records should not be allowed to occupy expensive filing equipment and prime office space. Official files selected for transfer to Federal Records Centers should appear in Appendix A, and be designated for transfer to the FRC; if they meet the following criteria: (1) they are no longer needed to carry out day-to-day office operations; and (2) they are ineligible for destruction for at least three (3) years from the date of transfer.

Preparing Records Transfer Forms

Once it has been determined that a record should be retired to a FRC, care should be taken to prepare the records properly for transfer. Transfer to the FRC must be by a Standard Form (SF) 135, Records Transmittal and Receipt. Accompanying the SF 135 should be a box listing consisting of the title and date of the records in each box being transferred. These forms serve as packing lists for the transfer and are used to control the location and disposition of files in the FRC.

Review and Distribution of SF 135

OCFO will review all SF 135s for completeness before records are sent to the FRC. The following procedures apply for records sent to the Washington National Records Center in Suitland, Maryland and Federal Records Centers in the field.

  1. Washington National Records Center. Offices served by this center are to contact by e-mail OCFO for assignment of customer reference numbers (CRN). OCFO will assign CRN's to be placed on SF 135; one CRN number will be issued per series of records.
  2. Field Federal Records Center. Office served by one of the FRCs in the field will forward a copy the SF 135 to OCFO. OCFO will review the SF 135 to determine the appropriateness of the transfer and will accordingly notify the office by telephone or e-mail. The Federal Records Center serving the transferring offices will assign accession numbers upon receipt of the SF 135.

Upon receipt or notification of the approved of the SF 135 by OCFO, the transferring office will forward the original to the Federal Records Center to arrive at least two weeks before the desired date for records shipment. The Federal Records Center returns the SF 135 to the transferring office, indicating that the records may be transferred. Delay in shipment of more than thirty days will result in the return of the SF 135 requiring resubmission of the transferring paperwork. Offices are required to forward a copy of the approved SF 135 to OCFO for filing.

Shipping Boxes

Records are transferred in standard records center boxes 8249 that hold approximately one cubic foot of records. The boxes may be obtained from the GSA Federal Supply Service. Non-standard boxes cannot be used because they will not fit on the shelving at the Federal Records Centers.

Packing the Boxes

Before packing the records boxes, offices must make sure that any records eligible for destruction are destroyed, and that any blocks of published materials are removed from the files. However, single copies of publications that are part of the files should not be removed. Records should not be screened on a time-consuming paper-by- paper basis. Folders should be packed upright, with letter-size folders facing the front of the container and legal-size folders facing the left side of the box. Only records with the same retention period should be packed in the same box. Records with different retention periods should not be packed in the same box.

Labeling and Sealing Boxes

Following approval of the SF 135 by the servicing Federal Records Center, the transferring office marks with a black felt marker each box in the shipment with the assigned accession number in the upper left hand corner of the front of the box. The transferring office places one copy of the SF 135 in the last box of each accession, and the records are shipped to the Federal Records Center.

Shipping the Records

The physical transfer of records to the Federal Records Center should be accomplished as soon as possible after the transferring office has received the approved copies of the SF 135 from the FRC.

  1. Headquarters offices. Headquarters offices are to notify OCFO to make arrangements for files to be sent to the Suitland Federal Records Center.
  2. Field offices. Field offices should use a shipping method which will be at the lowest cost possible. When using commercial carriers use ground three (3) day shipping:

When the Federal Records Center receives the records shipment, the boxes are matched against the copy of the SF 135 submitted with the accession. That copy is then signed by the Federal Records Center and returned to the transferring office for its files. Any changes in location number will be noted on this receipt copy before it is returned to the transferring office. All Headquarters and field offices are required to forward a copy of the SF 135 receipt copy to OCFO for budgeting and payment of these services from the FRC for the transferred records.

Reference Requests

To recall records from a Federal Records Center, the requesting office must complete an Optional Form 11, Reference Request-Federal Records Center. In Headquarters, the requests must be sent to the Federal Records Center through OCFO. In the field, requests may be sent directly to the servicing Federal Records Center with a copy sent to OCFO for the file.

Transfer of Records to the National Archives

All Commission records of permanent historical or archival value must be offered to the National Archives using the Electronic Records Archive System (ERA). To transfer records to the National Archives, the transferring office must coordinate with the Agency's Records Officer through the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) for further instructions. OCFO will review and approve the records for transfer prior to submission to NARA.

Disposition of Personal Papers

Personal papers maintained in an employee's office should be filed separately from Commission records to facilitate the application of the Federal Records Act. When both private matters and Commission business appear in the same document, the part relating to Commission business should be extracted or copied. The extraction or the copy should be treated as an official Commission record. Commission records are public records and belong to the office rather than the employee. Extra copies of records kept only for convenience of reference cannot be considered as personal papers. However, employees may accumulate for convenience or reference extra copies of papers that he or she drafted, reviewed, or otherwise acted upon. Such copies may be kept if doing so will not diminish the official records of the Commission; violate confidentiality required by privacy, confidentiality, or other interests protected by law; or exceed normal administrative economies.

Filing Equipment

  1. Standard filing cabinets:
    1. Standards filing equipment for use within the Commission includes letter-size two through five-drawer vertical and lateral filing cabinets.
    2. Existing information storage and retrieval systems or filing stations using legal-size files should be converted to letter-size, except when it is cost-effective to retain legal-size systems. Offices should not develop new legal-size filing systems without the approval of OCFO. Legal-size vertical or lateral file cabinets, shelving, or similar equipment should not be purchased by offices unless it can show the cost-effectiveness of this equipment. When returning unneeded file cabinets, return legal-size first to reduce the maximum amount of space and cost.
  2. Standard shelf files. Shelf files are used to maintain a large volume of records in a vertical position. Shelf-filing is best suited to files arranged alphabetically or in straight numerical sequence. Shelf files allow greater filing capacity per square foot of floor space than file cabinets, and permit easier reference to file folders. However, it is more difficult to drop-file materials within folders. Therefore, shelf files are generally not appropriate for very large case files, or files in which large amounts of new material is interfiled.
  3. Nonstandard filing equipment. An office may have file storage and retrieval requirements that are best met by using equipment other than standard file cabinets or shelves. Bulky materials, such as engineering drawings or maps, require special cabinets. Files with a very high rate of reference may justify special filing equipment.
  4. Matching supplies and equipment. All headquarters and field offices should make sure that their office's file supplies, such as guides and folders, are compatible with the filing equipment. For example, vertical file cabinets require folders and file guides cut so that the label is at the top of the file. Shelf files and lateral file cabinets require folders and guides cut so that the label is at the side of the file. Changing folders for all files may represent a significant cost when changing from vertical cabinets to shelf files, lateral cabinets, or nonstandard files.
  5. Requests for filing equipment and related supplies. Offices must consult OCFO before making any decision regarding new records storage equipment. OCFO provides advice and guidance regarding equipment that is appropriate for records maintenance and retrieval requirements of individual Headquarters and field offices.

File Space

  1. Aisle space. Offices should provide at least 28 inches of aisle space between file cabinets placed face- to- face. At least 24 inches between inactive and 36 inches between active shelf file units should be provided.
  2. Arrangement of filing equipment. Small numbers of cabinets or shelves should be placed against walls or railings. Large collections should be placed back-to-back. Offices must ensure to place files so that the floor will support the weight of the filled cabinets or shelves. An empty 5-drawer cabinet weighs approximately 195 pounds. Each linear foot of letter-size material adds approximately 30 pounds.

Damage to, Alienation, and Unauthorized Destruction of Records

  1. General. No paper or electronic record created or received by the Commission may be removed from the legal custody of the Commission or destroyed without regard to the provisions of the Commission's records schedule(s) (SF-115 approved by NARA or the General Records Schedules issued by NARA).
  2. Criminal penalties. The maximum penalty for the willful and unlawful destruction, damage, or alienation of Federal records is $2,000 fine, 3 years in prison, or both (18 U.S.C. 2071).
  3. Reporting. The Chair shall report any unlawful or accidental destruction, defacing, alteration, or removal of records in the custody of the Commission to NARA. The report shall include:
    1. A complete description of the records with volume and dates if known;
    2. The office of origin;
    3. A statement of the exact circumstances surrounding the alienation, defacing, or destruction of the records;
    4. A statement of the safeguards established to prevent further loss of documentation; and
    5. When appropriate, details of the actions taken to salvage, retrieve, or reconstruct the records.
    6. The Archivist of the United States will assist the Chair in contacting the Attorney General for the recovery of any unlawfully removed records.
  4. Exclusions. Private or personal files are not governed by these provisions. 36 CFR 1222.36 provides the legal definition of personal papers and prescribes standards for their maintenance.

Footnote

1 An Attorney Advisor in OLC FOIA Programs (FP), teleworks from our Cleveland Field Office and continues to perform all FP functions.