EEOC Goes Digital

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced on May 6 a pilot program to digitally transmit documents related to employment discrimination charges. The program, called ACT Digital, will roll out in 11 of EEOC’s 53 offices by the end of this month. Only one of the pilot program locations, EEOC’s San Francisco office, is in California.

The EEOC enforces federal laws that prohibit discrimination in employment and processes about 90,000 discrimination charges per year. Until now, EEOC has relied on paper documents for intake, investigations, and other communications. In ACT Digital’s first phase, employers can communicate with EEOC (in offices using the pilot program) through a secure portal to download charges, discuss mediation, and submit their position statements. Employers will receive a unique password to access the system. Employers can opt out of the program and continue receiving and submitting paper documents.

Depending on the success of the pilot program, EEOC plans to introduce the online charge system in all of its offices before the end of 2015.

EEOC can electronically notify an employer of a discrimination charge only if EEOC has a current designated contact, with an accurate email address, for that employer. Since most EEOC communications have occurred by “snail mail” or fax up to now, we may assume EEOC does not have electronic contact information for most employers. We understand EEOC will begin communications by sending a paper notice to the employer’s address with instructions for logging in to the secure portal.

Staff members who process EEOC charges can anticipate using ACT Digital in the near future. Employers should ensure these staff members have the necessary support to communicate with EEOC electronically.

California, as ever, occupies the leading edge in technology. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing launched its online complaint filing and management system in 2012.

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