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  2. MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS Records Management


  Date 12-3-2003


PURPOSE: This transmittal covers changes to EEOC Order 201.001, Records Management, formerly titled  EEOC RECORDS DISPOSITION PROGRAM, which implements EEOC-wide the records management program requirements set forth in the Federal Records Act regulations of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in subpart B, Part 1220, title 36 of the code of Federal Regulations for all federal agencies.

EFFECTIVE DATE: December 3, 2003

DISTRIBUTION: EEOC Order 201.001, as amended, is available on EEOC's intranet website, InSite.

CURRENT CHANGES: The major changes to this Order include: (1) the establishment of a responsibility matrix that specifies by organizational name the headquarters and field offices that have primary responsibility for maintaining and disposing of the official record copy of the EEOC's program and administrative paper and electronic records; (2)  implementation of NARA's recommendations regarding the disposition of all of EEOC's Litigation Case File and Charge/Complaint (Investigative) File records; and (3) updated retention and disposal instructions for all of the administrative records of EEOC covered by NARA's General Records Schedules.

OBSOLETE DATA AND FILING INSTRUCTIONS: This Order supersedes EEOC Order 201.001, EEOC RECORDS DISPOSITION PROGRAM, dated June 17, 1980, as amended, and EEOC Order 201.002, DISPOSITION OF PERSONAL PAPERS AND OFFICIAL RECORDS, dated April 15, 1991, which should be removed from reference files and destroyed

Jeffrey A. Smith                                       
Chief Financial Officer  



2. PURPOSE. This Order prescribes the policies, procedures, and standards and assigns responsibilities for managing the records of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for all of its activities in the headquarters and field offices, including destruction of those records.

3. EFFECTIVE DATE. December 3, 2003

4. ORIGINATOR. . Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Director of Administrative Services, Resource Management Division, Management Analysis Branch.

5. REFERENCES. Federal Records Act of 1950, as amended (44 U.S.C. 3101, et seq.); 41 CFR, chapter 201, subchapters A and B and related bulletins and handbooks; 36 CFR, chapter XII; and the General Accounting Office, (GAO), Policies and Procedures Manual for Guidance of Federal Agencies, Title 8, Records Management.


  1. Chair. The Chair, through the Director of the Office of Chief Financial Officer and Director of Administrative Services, 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.
  2. Office Directors (Headquarters and Field). All headquarters and field office directors, through an employee in their office designated by them as their offices records liaison officer, are responsible for the proper maintenance and disposition of the official records of their offices.
  3. Chief Financial Officer. The Chief Financial Officer, Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Director of Administrative Services (OCFO/AS), through the Director, Resource Management Division, is responsible for:

    (1) Developing Commission-wide policies and procedures for records management;

    (2) Administering and evaluating the overall implementation of the Commissions 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

    (5) Providing or arranging for training to all Commission managers, supervisors, and employees and contractors on records management.

  4. Agency Records Officer. The Director, Resource Management Division (RMD), OCFO/AS, is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Commissions records management program and is the Commissions Records Officer.
  5. Records Liaison Officer. Office directors (headquarters and field) will designate a records liaison officer for their office and notify RMD of the Office name, office address, phone number, fax number, and e-mail address of their designees. Each records liaison officer:

    (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 (SF 135, Records Transmittal and Receipt, and shelf list), for shipment to the Federal Records Center;

    (5) Destroys eligible records at individual files stations under authorized disposition instructions;

    (6) Maintains an inventory of all records belonging to the 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, exceptions to, or submits to OCFO/AS recommendations for new or revised documentation, maintenance, and disposition instructions.

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


The life cycle of all records of the Commission under this Order 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, Matrix of Office Primary Responsibility for Commission Program Records, Including Administrative Records Common to All Offices, to this 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 may include, but not limited to floppy diskettes, data cartridges, magnetic tapes and disks, and optical disks. These media may change frequently because of rapidly expanding technologies. Electronic records are increasingly supplementing and sometimes replacing paper records.


  1. General records management requirements. All headquarters and field offices will at a minimum-

    (1) Maintain all administrative(1) 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 cut off date for all records will be December 31, of each year;

    (2) Move to a separate file drawer, shelf, or cabinet or warehouse all inactive files until it is time to destroy them or transfer them to a Federal Records Center with the prior approval of OCFO/AS;

    (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/AS;

    (4) Annually report to OCFO/AS using EEOC Form 163, Annual Summary of Records Holding, the volume of records held, retired and/or disposed of and the number and type of office filing equipment;

    (5) 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/AS a request to transfer either by letter or SF 135, Records Transmittal and Receipt, and include the concurrence or nonconcurrence by agency officials accompanied by the following information-

    (a) A description of the records and the volume (in cubic feet);

    (b) Any restrictions on using the records;

    (c) The number of persons maintaining the records, if any;

    (d) The current and proposed physical and organizational locations of the records;

    (e) A statement as to why the transfer is in the interest of the Government; and

    (f) A justification for transferring records more than five (5) years old.

    (6) 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:

    (a) Printed in hard copy and stored per the above procedures;

    (b) Copied to a network share drive for back-up and storage;

    (c) Stored in electronic media format (CD, tapes, floppy diskettes, etc.) in file cabinets, drawer, or warehouse per the above procedures,

    (d) Stored as data within an EEOC information system (database, document management system, etc.) which automates EEOCs record retention policies and schedules.

    (7) 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

    (8) 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/AS, who will evaluate them and recommend appropriate action.

  2. Matrix of 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 a matrix of responsibility is required. Appendix A to this Order establishes individual office records management responsibility on a record-by-record basis among the headquarters and their subordinate field offices. The matrix answers the question: Who needs to do what, when and where? which is an expanded version of the typical responsibility matrix.

    The matrix 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 NARAs General Records Schedule 23, Records Common to Most Offices Within Agencies.

    The administrative records of the Commission that are maintained and disposed under NARAs general record keeping authority are shown by a General Records Schedule (GRS) number and item shown in the Disposal Authority column of the matrix. The program records of the Commission are shown by NARA job number NC1-403-XX-X.


Offices that create and receive records will submit recommended changes and additions to the records responsibility matrix 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/AS by a SF 115, Request for Authority to Dispose of Records, SF 115A, Continuation Sheet, if needed, and forwarded to OCFO/AS. Justification for the addition or change must be submitted along with the SF 115. OCFO/AS will coordinate proposed changes with offices maintaining similar records.


  1. General. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) operates a system of Federal Records Centers located nationwide. The most significant reasons records centers are of great importance in the management of records are the savings in space and equipment costs.
  2. 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 a Federal Records Centers should appear in the matrix of records responsibility in Appendix A and be designated for transfer to a Federal Records Center; 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.
  3. Preparing records transfer forms. Once it has been determined that a record should be retired to a Federal Records Center care should be taken to prepare the records properly for transfer. Transfer to Federal Records Centers must be by a Standard Form (SF) 135, Records Transmittal and Receipt. Standard Form 135A, Records Transmittal and Receipt (Continuation) will be used as necessary. These forms serve as packing lists for the transfer and are used to control the location and disposition of files in the Federal Records Center.
  4. Review and distribution of SF 135. OCFO/AS will review all SF 135s for completeness before records are sent to a Federal Records Centers. 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 forward all copies of the SF 135 to OCFO/AS for assignment of accession numbers. OCFO/AS will record the accession numbers on all copies of the SF 135 and return copies to the submitting office.

    (2) Field Federal Records Center. Offices served by one of the Federal Records Center in the field will forward a copy (not the original) of the SF 135 to OCFO/AS. OCFO/AS 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/AS, the transferring office will retain one copy for filing and forward the original and two copies to the Federal Records Center to arrive at least two weeks before the desired date for records shipment. The Federal Records Center returns two copies of 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 annotated SF 135 to OCFO/AS for filing.

  5. Shipping containers. Records are transferred in standard records center cartons that hold approximately one cubit 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.
  6. Packing the containers. 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.

  7. Labeling and sealing containers. Following approval of the SF 135 by the servicing Federal Records Center, the transferring office marks with a black felt marker each carton in the shipment with the assigned accession number in the upper left hand corner of the front of the box. Transferring offices own box number is marked on each carton in the upper right corner of the front of the box (e.g., 1-10, 2-10, 3-10, etc.). The transferring office places one copy of the SF 135 in the first carton of each accession, and the records are shipped to the Federal Records Center.
  8. 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 annotated copies of the SF 135 from the Federal Records Center.

    (1) Headquarters offices. Headquarters offices are to notify OCFO/AS 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 obtain the lowest freight rate for office records by including the following statement on bills of lading or other shipping documents:

    The agreed or declared volume of this property is hereby specifically stated by the shippers not to exceed 3.5 cents per pound.

    For additional information on shipping a large volume of records, contact the nearest GSA Regional Office.

    When the Federal Records Center receives the records shipment, the cartons 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 offices in the headquarters and field are required to forward a copy of this receipt copy to OCFO/AS automatically to attest the authenticity of payability of vouchers from the Federal Records Center for the transferred records.

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


All Commission records of permanent historical or archival value must be transferred to the National Archives. To transfer records to the National Archives, the transferring office must complete Standard Form 258, Request to Transfer, Approval, and Receipt to National Archives of the United States, and forward the request to OCFO/AS for review and approval and further instructions.




Personal papers maintained in an employees 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 of reference extra copies of papers that he or she drafted, reviewed, or otherwise acted upon. Such copies may be kept by 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.


  1. Standard filing cabinets.

    (1) Standards filing equipment for use within the Commission includes letter-size two through five-drawer metal 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/AS. 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 offices 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/AS before making any decision regarding new records storage equipment. OCFO/AS provides advice and guidance regarding equipment that is appropriate for records maintenance and retrieval requirements of individual headquarters and field offices.


  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 weights approximately 195 pounds. Each linear foot of letter-size material adds approximately 30 pounds.


  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 Commissions 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, alterations, or removal of records in the custody of the commission to NARA (NWML), 8601 Adelphi Rd., College Park, MD 20740-6001. The report shall include:

    (1) A complete description of the records with volume and dates if known;

    (2) The office or 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.

    The Archivist of the United States will assist the Chair in contacting the Attorney General for the recovery of any unlawfully removed records.

  4. Exclusion. 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.


Appendix A Matrix by Office of Primary Responsibility for Commission Program Records, Including Administrative Records Common to All Headquarters and Field Offices.


This Order supersedes EEOC Order 201.001, EEOC RECORDS DISPOSITION PROGRAM, dated June 17, 1980, as amended, and EEOC Order 201.002, DISPOSITION OF PERSONAL PAPERS AND OFFICIAL RECORDS, dated April 15, 1991, which should be removed from reference files and destroyed.


Jeffrey A. Smith
Chief Financial Officer


1. Administrative Files. Files containing administrative records, which are records concerning the support functions which are common to all government departments and agencies. These files are structured (or subdivided) according to generally understood subjects - e.g. personnel, administrative services, etc., and are made up of record copies of reports, correspondence, and other documents.