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Commission Decisions and Commission Opinion Letters

Commission Decisions concern a particular charge of discrimination and its specific facts, but the legal interpretations set forth may be applied to similar cases by EEOC. They should not be confused with EEOC's federal sector appellate decisions in federal employee complaints of discrimination.

Commission Decisions have been in use since EEOC first opened in 1965. In its earliest days, the Commissioners voted on "Letters of Determination" to decide the merits of all charges filed with EEOC. As charge filings increased significantly, concerns about the growing inventory of pending charges led the EEOC to amend its regulations in 1972 to allow field offices to issue a Letter of Determination on a specific charge without a Commission vote. The Commission's authority to issue a decision on a particular charge remains, although it has been used sparsely in recent years. Similar to other Subregulatory Guidance Documents, Commission Decisions express official agency policy and must be approved by a majority of the Commissioners. 

Commission Opinion Letters are issued pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which both provide the Commission with authority to issue opinion letters and provide employers who act in good faith compliance with those letters a defense to liability.  All Commission Opinion Letters reflect the official position of the agency on the matters addressed.  They should not be confused with Informal Discussion letters provided by EEOC-staff, which are not an official agency position and cannot be relied upon in the same way.

Commission Decisions

Commission Opinion Letters