On November 1, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched a public portal that will give people online access to inquiries about discrimination. “The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.” The public portal will make EEOC information, as well as personal charge information, easily accessible. The features included in the public portal are currently available for all newly filed charges and any charges that were filed on or after January 1, 2016 that are currently in investigation or mediation.
According to the EEOC, in the fiscal year of 2017 they responded to 550,000 toll-free number calls and more than 140,600 inquiries to its field offices. This triggered a significant demand for the EEOC’s services and a more readily accessible inquiry tool was developed. The EEOC also predicts, because of the high volume of users, the online system will be more efficient for both the people and the agency, and the public portal will reduce the time and expense of paper submissions.
While anyone will be able to more easily file complaints, the system will not permit those people to file charges of discrimination that have not been prepared by the EEOC. Additionally, people may not file complaints of discrimination against federal agencies. The portal will allow any person to easily submit initial inquiries and request intake interviews from the agency. Initial inquires and intake interviews are traditionally the first step taken once a person decides they want to file a discrimination charge with the EEOC.
With the new EEOC Public Portal an employee will be able to:
- File and digitally sign a complaint
- Provide and/or update contact information
- Agree to mediate the charge
- Upload documents to the charge file
- Receive documents and messages related to the charge from the EEOC
- Check the status of the charge
If you wish to file a complaint using the public portal, go to publicportal.eeoc.gov. You will then click on “I Want to File a Complaint” which will link you to the correct page. Here, EEOC will provide you with online tutorials that will show you how to use the new portal. Once you start you will be prompted to answer what type of employer discriminated against you (business, non-profit organization, state, local, etc.), what day the discrimination took place, what type of discrimination took place, how many employees the employer has, and where the discriminatory act took place. The portal will then determine if your situation is covered by the laws of the EEOC. If it is, you will be prompted to sign in to the portal as a new user, and from there, the EEOC will provide you with a prepared charge to file.
The EEOC’s mission is to protect employees and job applicants from any form of discrimination. Although the EEOC’s Public Portal may make it easier to file a charge, it is important to have a skilled attorney by your side to help guide you and handle the claim on your behalf. If you believe that you have faced discrimination or harassment by your employer, contact an experienced New York employment law attorney who can ensure that your rights are protected. Call Steven Mitchell Sack at (917) 371-8000 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.