EEOC Public Portal – Appellate Questions and Answers
Question: What happens in FedSEP when complainant files an appeal through the EEOC Public Portal?
Answer: When a complainant files an appeal through the EEOC Public Portal, several things will happen in FedSEP:
- The appeal’s docket number will immediately appear in the respondent agency’s FedSEP appeals inventory. The respondent agency can quickly sort the appeals inventory list by clicking on the Sort Arrow at the top of the Appeal Number column.
- The initial acknowledgment notice to complainant will be available to the respondent agency in FedSEP.
- Any documents uploaded by complainant will be immediately available to the respondent agency to download and view.
- Later, after the EEOC Office of Federal Operations staff have “perfected” the appeal filed via the EEOC Public Portal, the acknowledgment letter to the agency, as well as a second acknowledgment letter to complainant, will be available in both parties’ portals.
Question: When does the “clock start” for a respondent agency to submit the complaint file, after a complainant has filed a new appeal through the EEOC Public Portal?
Answer: EEOC regulation 29 C.F.R. § 1614.403(e) requires that agencies send the complaint file to the EEOC Office of Federal Operations (OFO) within 30 days of initial notification that complainant has filed an appeal. This 30-day time period will still apply to appeals filed by complainants through the EEOC Public Portal.
In this virtual context, however, the 30-day time period will be deemed to start when newly docketed matters appear on agencies’ FedSEP appeal inventory lists. The reason why agencies are considered to have received notice when Public Portal appeals appear in agencies’ FedSEP appeal inventory lists is because agencies are able to see the new OFO docket numbers, the agency numbers provided by complainants, the acknowledgement letters issued to complainants who filed through the EEOC Public Portal, and any documentation uploaded by complainants. Therefore, the inclusion of this information in agencies’ FedSEP appeals inventory constitutes notification for purposes of this provision of the regulations.
For appeals not filed through the EEOC Public Portal, agencies still must submit the complaint file to OFO within 30 days of notification of the appeal – be it when complainant serves the agency with a copy of the appeal, or when the agency EEO Director and Appeal Contacts receive an email acknowledgment of the new appeal.
Question: Will agencies still receive acknowledgements from the EEOC Office of Federal Operations (OFO) that complainants have filed new appeals?
Answer: Yes. Whether complainants electronically file new appeals through the EEOC Public Portal or submit appeals in “hardcopy” to OFO, agencies will now receive acknowledgment letters of these new appeals by email. These emails will be sent after OFO staff have “perfected” the appeal and issued acknowledgment letters to the parties. Emailed acknowledgment letters will be sent to the agency FedSEP EEO Director, persons on the agency’s Appeal Contact List, and any legal representative assigned to the matter. The acknowledgment letter to the agency will also be viewable by complainants using the EEOC Public Portal.
Emailed acknowledgment letters will replace mailed hardcopy acknowledgment letters; therefore, OFO will stop mailing hardcopy acknowledgment letters to agency officials for all appeals, including EEOC Public Portal appeals and appeals submitted in hardcopy to OFO.
Question: Can agencies “serve” complainants through FedSEP?
Answer: Yes, when complainants have registered an account in the EEOC Public Portal. To determine whether a complainant is utilizing the EEOC Public Portal for an appeal, login to FedSEP, click on Appeals and you can see which appeals have come from the Portal under the column designated “From Portal?”.
- For those appeals where complainants have used the EEOC Public Portal, agencies may satisfy the requirement of service of documents to complainants by uploading their documents via FedSEP. When an agency uploads a document, the complainant will receive an email notification that a document has been uploaded to their Public Portal case file and instructs them to login to the Portal to view it.
Question: Where can I find out more information about how to use the EEOC Public Portal?
Answer: The EEOC Public Portal User’s Guide provides comprehensive guidance for using the EEOC Public Portal’s features and functions. The User’s Guide is published as individual documents, each of which covers a particular feature or related features of the EEOC Public Portal.
The following EEOC Public Portal User’s Guide documents are available:
- Vol 1 – Getting Started (learn about logging into the EEOC Public Portal, the Portal structure, and other basic information)
- Vol 6 – Hearings with the EEOC
- Vol 7 – Appealing Federal Agency Decisions to the EEOC
- Vol 8 – Manage Your Case Information (learn how to display information about your case, enter/update your personal information, add Legal Representatives, and submit/receive documents associated with your case)