Request for Information in EEOC cases

by on May 20, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Create a record of reasonable cooperation in EEOC cases

You might get a request for information as a part of some EEOC cases. Now, generally, you get a request and when you respond — sometimes you’re also asked for a position statement, so your response will be a different document than the position statement, but it’s attached to the position statement.

If possible, you’re going to narrow the scope of the request for information a part of your defense strategy in EEOC cases. The request for information (RFI) is a bunch of questions that EEOC will ask you.

Requests for Information types
There are 2 kinds of RFIs’ in EEOC cases. Some are pretty standard, depending on the clam. They also have very specific ones, where the agency actually wrote them out based on the facts of the case. These are often prepared by the agency in an information vacuum. They don’t really have a knowledge of the nature of the company’s business.

In many cases, the agency will be willing to work with you, to narrow the scope of the request to what is truly relevant to EEOC cases, because sometimes, they are very broad, very over-reaching and you may be able to scale them back to what makes sense. You’re going to want to answer the specific questions. They may want ask you lots and lots of information you don’t want to give.

Create a record of reasonable cooperation
If a question is seeking information that’s irrelevant, you think it’s an invasion of privacy. It’s unduly burdensome. You should clearly state an objection on those grounds and you should provide the information to the EEOC cases that you do think is relevant.

This is the time where you might want to work with the agency, talk to them, say, look, you know, you ask for every job that was available during this six-month period. That’s unrealistic for these reasons. But what I can give you and what I think is relevant is X, Y and Z. And they might be fine with that.

If you do have objections in the EEOC cases, you should state them in writing. That helps to create a record of reasonable cooperation, because you’ll say, I object, but here’s what I’m giving you and it may lead to a discussion with the EEOC about modifying the request. It will also help you in defending your position with the EEOC, if they’re seeking a court enforcement through a subpoena to obtain that information.

Again, when you’re responding to a request for information, you want to focus on the relevant time period and similarly situated employee.

They have example where they’ll ask for information about a whole department, where really, they just needed information about colleagues who did the same job. You may be able to narrow it down in that respect.

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