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Note: Federal employees and job applicants have a different complaint process.

Information obtained from individuals who contact EEOC is confidential and will not be revealed to the employer until the individual files a charge of discrimination. When an individual contacts the EEOC, s/he will be asked to provide information which may include the following:

  1. The individual's name, address, telephone number, date of birth
  2. Social Security Number (optional)
  3. Name, address and telephone number of the employer
  4. Employer's approximate number of employees
  5. Date(s) of harm
  6. Employer's explanation for its actions (if available)
  7. Why the individual believes that the action taken against him/her was discriminatory
  8. Names of individuals who were treated more favorably (if applicable)

This information will be used for record-keeping purposes and to determine whether the situation is covered by EEOC. EEOC employees are subject to strict confidentiality requirements by law.

Once a charge is filed, the individual's name and basic information about the allegations of discrimination will be disclosed to the employer. By law, we are required to notify the employer of the charge within 10 days of the filing date. During the course of the investigation, the EEOC may share certain information with the charging party and the respondent. By law, the EEOC must keep charge information confidential and will not disclose information related to a charge to the public.

Remaining Anonymous

When you file a charge, you must give us your name. Your name must appear on the charge, and it must be signed by you. We are required by law to give your charge to the employer so that the employer can answer the claims made in your charge. If you wish to remain anonymous, we will accept a charge that is filed on behalf of someone else who has been the victim of discrimination. The charge can be filed by a person or an organization. In such cases, we usually don't tell the employer who the charge was filed on behalf of, but we do tell the employer the name of the person or organization who filed the charge.

In practice, however, it may be difficult to hide the identity of the person who believes they have been the victim of discrimination during the investigation, even though a name is never released, because of the circumstances of the charge.

A parent may also want to file a charge "on behalf of" a minor child or a child with a mental impairment.

Retaliation By An Employer

Your employer may not fire, demote, harass, or otherwise "retaliate" against you for filing a charge. All of the laws we enforce make it illegal for an employer to retaliate against someone who files a charge or someone who takes part in an EEOC investigation or lawsuit.

If you feel you have been retaliated against, you should promptly contact the investigator looking into your charge. The investigator will talk with you about the situation and add a claim of retaliation to your charge if appropriate. If a claim of retaliation is added to your charge, we will tell the employer and then investigate the retaliation claim along with the rest of your charge. Keep in mind that the strict deadlines for filing a charge also apply when you want to add to a charge. The fact that you filed an earlier charge may not extend the deadline. For this reason, you should contact us as soon as possible.