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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



XII. Appeals

Requesters may file an administrative appeal if they disagree with the withholding of information or believe that there are additional records responsive to the request that were not located. They may also appeal the denial of a request for expedited processing or a fee waiver. The appeal must be received within thirty days of the date of the EEOC’s determination letter. The time may be extended if unusual circumstances prevented an appeal or if the EEOC failed to notify the requester of the right to appeal in its determination letter. All appeals must be made in writing and addressed to:

Assistant Legal Counsel
Office of Legal Counsel
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
131 M Street, N.E., Suite 5NW02E
Washington, DC 20507

When the appeal is submitted by mail, both the front of the envelope and the appeal letter should contain the notation "Freedom of Information Act Appeal." When the appeal is submitted electronically, both the cover and the appeal letter should contain the notation “Freedom of Information Act Appeal.”

There is no specific form or particular language needed to file an administrative appeal, but you must enclose a copy of the initial determination letter. You may explain the reasons for your disagreement with the action, but a simple statement that you are appealing the decision is sufficient. However, if you are appealing because you believe there are additional records that have not been located in response to your request, you should specify why you think such records exist and, if possible, where you believe they might be located.

The Office of Legal Counsel will review the withheld documents and the reasons cited in the initial decision, and will make an independent determination as to whether your request was properly processed.

Under the FOIA, EEOC is required to make a determination on your administrative appeal within 20 business days. In unusual circumstances, the EEOC may extend the time to respond by an additional 10 working days. If this occurs, you will be notified in writing prior to the expiration of the 20 working days. The EEOC may also toll (stop) processing your request to seek additional information or clarifying information about fees. If this occurs, you will be notified in writing prior to the expiration of the 20 working days. The time to respond to your appeal will resume when EEOC receives your response to its request for information. The Office of Legal Counsel may take one of several actions on your appeal. It may affirm the decision in full and identify which exemptions have been appropriately claimed. It may affirm part of the decision (identifying the applicable exemptions), but order the release of other information previously withheld. It may order the release of all withheld information. Finally, under some circumstances, it may return or "remand" the request for complete reprocessing. When a case is remanded, you will have an opportunity again to appeal to the Office of Legal Counsel after the District Director has reprocessed the records if you remain dissatisfied with the District Director's action.