On Feb. 18, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced new procedures  that give a charging party access to a respondent’s position statement and supporting documents in the course of an employment discrimination investigation. Under these procedures, the charging party or the party’s representative may request to view the respondent’s position statement and its supporting attachments if they were filed in response to an EEOC demand made on or after Jan. 1, 2016. Once the EEOC releases the statement, the charging party will have twenty days to file a response; however, this response will not be available to the respondent.
 
If the respondent’s position statement or accompanying documentation contains confidential information, the EEOC will redact this material prior to release. To ensure confidentiality, the respondent should “refer to, but not identify” such information in its statement and provide separate attachments labeled as:

• Sensitive medical information;
• Confidential commercial information;
• Confidential financial information; or
• Trade secret information.

The new procedures also require respondents to provide justification for confidentiality. The EEOC has designated the information below as confidential:

• Sensitive medical information not belonging to the charging party
• Social Security numbers
• Confidential commercial or financial information
• Trade secrets
• Personal information of third parties that is not relevant to the investigation 
• Charges against respondent by other charging parties

EEOC’s announcement follows the implementation of its new Digital Charge System that allows parties to an investigation to submit required documentation through an online portal.  

For additional information, please see the EEOC’s Questions & Answers for Respondents and Charging Parties