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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law

EEOC Complaint Inquiries Now a Click Away With New Public Portal

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced on Nov. 1 its new online portal available for individuals to submit discrimination and retaliation inquiries. Previously, prospective complainants either called a toll-free number or contacted a field office.

 

Individuals can subsequently use the public portal to digitally sign and file a charge of discrimination the EEOC has prepared for them.

 

An individual can use the portal to upload documents, agree to mediation, receive messages and schedule appointments, and check on the status of his or her charge.  The EEOC said that in a few weeks, these features will be available for charges filed on or after Jan. 1, 2016, that are currently in investigation or mediation, but only to those complainants who provided the agency with an email address. Employers have had access to an EEOC Respondent Portal to file responses and documents for several years.

 

In fiscal year 2017, the EEOC responded to more than 550,000 toll-free telephone calls and 104,600 inquiries to field offices. Now individuals can initiate the EEOC complaint process online and with a smartphone, just as they can now also “sign” a union authorization card in the same way.

 

Don Lawless

Don P. Lawless is a partner in Barnes & Thornburg’s Labor and Employment Law Department in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and serves as vice chair of the firm’s Higher Education Practice Group. He has more than 25 years of experience working on behalf of employers to meet their labor and employment law objectives.

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