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Questions about EEOC Laws and Regulations

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) helps prevent discrimination in the workplace through strict law enforcement. Yet, many employers and employees may not be aware of how the EEOC works and how it can help them avoid discrimination and lead to more fulfilling and happy professional lives. This can result in confusion and questions about the law and your rights. Below are the most common questions about EEOC that have been answered by the Experts.

At the EEOC, what sort of records can I look at and duplicate without a request from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

You could look at and make copies of EEOC records at the Public Reading Room in the library at any EEOC district office. This link -- http://www.eeoc.gov/offices.html -- will offer you a list of EEOC district offices. The documents that are available for public reading include:
• Commission notices and EEOC regulatory amendments which are not, or never have been, published in the Code of Federal Regulations;
• The Commission's annual reports
• The Commission's compliance manual
• Blank forms relating to the Commission's procedures as they affect the public
• The Commission's orders, directives and decisions

Are there EEOC records that the public cannot view?

There are certain records that the general public cannot access from the EEOC. These include employment discrimination charges, conciliation information charges, and EEOC survey data. Complaints made against the federal sector are not available for public viewing. Also not available: records pertaining to inter or intra agency pre-decisional deliberation and recommendations, opinion, analyses, attorney work-product, attorney-client, information provided to EEOC by confidential sources, and information that involves third-party personal privacy, and personnel or medical records.

For example, EEOC will not be able to pass on the Investigative Memorandum; categorization codes; or the name, Social Security number, address, telephone number or other personal information concerning a third party. If you would like more information on the subject, please visit http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/foia/index.cfm .

Apart from the EEOC, is there anyone else who is eligible to train employees of a store on the subject of discrimination?

At present, there is no law in place that defines who can give employees training. Employees could be trained by anyone who has studied anti-discrimination laws and is familiar with the employer’s policy. This could range from anyone in the HR department to the owner of the company to an outside consultant, or even an attorney.

Can I ask for information of past EEOC activity in request for discovery?

In a request like this, you are only allowed to ask for information that has some connection with or is absolutely relevant to your case. If you can prove that the past EEOC information that you are looking for has a connection with your case, then you will be entitled to have it. If this is not possible, then you will not be able to request for the information.

I asked for a hearing because I was not given unemployment and won my case. If the EEOC decides to take my case, what can they help me achieve from this?

In a case like what you have mentioned above, this is usually how the EEOC would work: A written determination and invitation would be issued to the parties to start conciliation discussions if the EEOC feels that there is enough reason to believe that discrimination has taken place. If these efforts do not meet with any success, the EEOC and you may bring suit.

The usual remedies listed out for unlawful discrimination as per EEOC-enforced laws would include:
• an order to eliminate discriminatory practices
• hiring, wage adjustments, promotion or reinstatement, depending upon the nature of the action taken against the individual, and monetary remedies

The monetary aspect of these remedies would be as follows:
• lost wages and prejudgment interest
• liquidated/double damages (ADEA and EPA)
• compensatory damages (Title VII and ADA cases involving intentional discrimination)
• punitive damages (Title VII and ADA cases in which the employer acts with reckless disregard of the federally protected rights of the individual)
• the sum of punitive damages and future compensatory damages may not exceed the following amounts, per person:
o $50,000 for employers with 15-100 employees
o $100,000 for employers with 101-200 employees
o $200,000 for employers with 201-500 employees
o $300,000 for employers with more than 500 employees

Understanding how the EEOC works can give you an advantage and help you fight for your rights. If you have questions about how the EEOC may help your situation, get professional help or ask an Expert now.
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