On November 1, 2017, the EEOC launched a Public Portal that gives online access to people inquiring about discrimination. The secure online system makes both EEOC information and a person’s own charge information available whenever and wherever it’s convenient for that person. EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic called the system “a giant leap forward for the EEOC in providing online services.”
Public Portal use. Through the EEOC Public Portal a person can submit—online—initial inquiries and requests for intake interviews with the agency. Initial inquiries and intake interviews are typically the first steps for those who want to file a discrimination charge with the EEOC. The agency noted that in fiscal year 2017, it responded to more than 550,000 calls to its toll-free number and more than 140,600 inquiries in its field offices, reflecting the significant public demand for the EEOC’s services. Handling this volume of contacts through an online system is more efficient for both the public and the agency because it reduces the time and expense of paper submissions, the EEOC said.
Under the new system people will be able to digitally sign and file a charge prepared for them by the EEOC. Once a person files a charge, he or she can use the EEOC Public Portal to provide and update contact information, agree to mediate the charge, upload documents to his or her charge file, receive documents and messages related to the charge from the agency, and check on the status of the charge. These features are available for newly filed charges and charges that were filed on or after January 1, 2016, that are in investigation or mediation.
The new system does not permit people to file charges of discrimination online that have not been prepared by the EEOC or to file complaints of discrimination against federal agencies.
Expanding soon. In the next few weeks, the EEOC will also provide online access to charging parties for whom the agency has an email address and who have pending charges that are currently in investigation or mediation and were filed as of January 1, 2016.
The system was piloted by five EEOC offices (Charlotte, Chicago, New Orleans, Phoenix, and Seattle) for six months. Feedback from the public and the EEOC pilot offices prompted improvements in the system for this nationwide launch.
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