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Freedom of Information Act

Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your FOIA request or appeal. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.

The Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") is a law that allows any member of the public to request copies of federal government records, including EEOC records.  5 U.S.C. § 552.

EEOC makes many records publicly available on the EEOC's main website, such as informal discussion letters and guidance documents. Documents are also available in the FOIA E-Library (an electronic collection), and in physical libraries located at EEOC Headquarters (131 M Street, N.E., Suite 4SW16N, Washington, D.C. 20507) and District Offices.  Before requesting a document through FOIA, please check to see whether it is available in one of these locations. 

Limitations

Some EEOC records are confidential and will not be released. For example, EEOC WILL NOT RELEASE:

  • Employment discrimination charge file records before EEOC completes its investigation;
  • Investigative employment discrimination charge file records to a third party (someone who is not part of the case), including the press.  (Other rules regarding charge file requests are stated below.)   
  • An employer's EEO report, unless you have filed suit on a charge of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, or religion against the employer (a Title VII charge).
  • Personal information that would be expected to invade someone's personal privacy (such as someone else's Social Security number).
  • Records that reflect EEOC's internal decision-making.  For example, we will not release information that reveals how EEOC decides whether to litigate a charge, or early drafts of guidance or other policy documents.  

To find out more about what can be withheld under the FOIA, see What types of EEOC records are not disclosed to the public?

Charge Files

Special rules apply to requests for records that relate to a charge of discrimination that has been filed with the EEOC (a collection of all the records related to a charge is called a "charge file").

You can only request a charge file if you are the person who filed the charge (the "charging party"), or the employer who was accused of discrimination (the "respondent"), and the EEOC has completed its investigation of the charge of employment discrimination.

  • A charging party can request a charge file up to 90 days after receiving a Notice of Right to Sue letter, which the EEOC will send after it finishes investigating the case and decides to take no further action.  A charging party can also request a copy of the file after filing an employment discrimination lawsuit against the respondent in federal or state court.
  • A respondent can request a copy of a charge file only after the charging party has filed a lawsuit against it in federal or state court.

If you are requesting a charge file, you can choose to make a request under Section 83 Disclosure of Information in Charge Files, instead of FOIA request. A Section 83 request will be processed more quickly, but you will not receive an explanation of why certain information in the file was withheld, if any, and you will not have the right to appeal the decision to withhold the information. 

For more detailed information on FOIA, see Resources.

Online FOIA Requests/Appeals

File new FOIA requests or appeals in our new FOIA system.

Check the status of a pending FOIA request or appeal submitted before February 1, 2021.


FOIA Requester Service Center

Contact the Requester Service Center for questions and concerns regarding FOIA and Section 83 requests.

1-833-827-2920 (Toll-Free)

202-921-2541


FOIA Public Liaison

Contact the FOIA Public Liaison for further FOIA Assistance, to discuss any aspect of your request or appeal, or FOIA dispute resolution.

202-921-2542

 

For General Information about the FOIA

Department of Justice Office of Information Policy (OIP): 202-514-3642

Office of Government Information Services (OGIS):  202-741-5770