The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


Questions and Answers: Issuance of New Section of EEOC Compliance Manual on Threshold Issues

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a new Compliance Manual section on Threshold Issues. This new section replaces Section 605: Jurisdiction and nine other Commission policy statements. It is part of an ongoing EEOC project to update and streamline its Compliance Manual, the basic policy document for its investigators.

Q: What is meant by "threshold issues"?

A: "Threshold issues" are requirements that an individual must satisfy in order to have a legal claim under the EEO statutes. When a charge is filed with the EEOC, the investigator determines whether threshold requirements are satisfied before considering the substantive claim of discrimination.

Q: What topics are discussed in the new section?

A: The new section provides a comprehensive overview of threshold issues that frequently arise under the EEO statutes. The main topics addressed in the section are the following:

Q: Who will use the new section?

A: The new section will primarily be used by EEOC investigators to determine whether charges filed with the Commission present claims covered by the EEO statutes. The new section will also be useful to employers, employees, and their representatives. The new section uses plainer English and is more easily understood by non-lawyers than the old guidances it replaces. The new section also contains numerous internal cross-references and cross-references to other Commission documents that provide more detailed discussions of particular issues. Lawyers and laypersons alike should find the new section user-friendly as they look for answers to such questions as whether the EEO statutes protect workers employed overseas, or whether a particular claim is timely.

Q: Does the new section discuss the threshold requirements under all of the EEO statutes?

A: The new section discusses the threshold requirements under all of the statutes enforced by the EEOC: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, and section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Many threshold requirements are the same under all of the statutes. Differences that arise under particular statutes are identified in the new section.

Q: Do the threshold requirements apply to claims against federal agencies?

A: The threshold requirements discussed in the new section are generally the same for claims against federal agencies as they are for claims against private employers and state and local governments. Threshold requirements that are different for federal agencies, such as time requirements, are noted in the new section.

Q: Why has the EEOC replaced its old documents with this new section?

A: The new section is intended to present legal concepts in a more accessible, unified, and streamlined fashion. The new section discusses the legal principles that were addressed in the old documents that it replaces, and updates the discussion of those issues based on recent legal developments. The new section includes all of the subjects in the documents that it replaces.

Q: What policy documents are replaced by the new section?

A: The new section replaces the following documents:

Section 605: Jurisdiction, EEOC Compliance Manual, Volume II
Enforcement Guidance on the Bona Fide Private Membership Club Exception, EEOC Compliance Manual, Volume II, Appendix 605-A
Enforcement Guidance on Sheriffs' Deputies, EEOC Compliance Manual, Volume II, Appendix 605-C
Enforcement Guidance on Work Release Programs, EEOC Compliance Manual, Volume II, Appendix 605-D
Enforcement Guidance on Partners, Officers, Members of Boards of Directors, and Major Shareholders, EEOC Compliance Manual, Volume II, Appendix 605-E
Enforcement Guidance on Integrated Enterprises and Joint Employers, EEOC Compliance Manual, Volume II, Appendix 605-G
Enforcement Guidance on Independent Contractors and Independent Businesses, EEOC Compliance Manual, Volume II, Appendix 605-H
Enforcement Guidance on Counting Employees to Determine Title VII Jurisdiction (1997)
Policy Guidance on Whether Part-time Employees Are Employees Within the Meaning of 701(b) of Title VII and 11(b) of the ADEA (1990)
Policy Statement on Effect of 1986 Amendments to ADEA on Commission's Enforcement


This page was last modified on May 12, 2000.

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