The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Fiscal Year 2004 Report of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on its Administration of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. section 552 ans the Privacy Act (PA), 5 U.S.C. section 552(a)

  1. Basic Information Regarding FOIA Report
    1. Name, title, address and telephone number of person to be contacted with questions about the report

      Stephanie D. Garner
      Assistant Legal Counsel
      EEOC
      Office of Legal Counsel
      1801 L Street, NW, 6th floor
      Washington, DC 20507
      (202) 663-4640

    2. Electronic address for report on the World Wide Web

      http://www.eeoc.gov/foia/

    3. How to obtain a copy of the report in paper form

      A paper copy of the report may be requested by submitting a written request to:

      Stephanie D. Garner
      Assistant Legal Counsel
      EEOC
      Office of Legal Counsel
      1801 L Street, NW, 6th floor
      Washington, DC 20507
      (202) 663-4640

  2. How To Make A FOIA Request

    FOIA requests should be made in accordance with the Commission's regulations at 29 C.F.R. 1610.7. The regulations can be accessed on the World Wide Web at:
    http://www.eeoc.gov/foia/1610.html

    1. Names, address, and telephone numbers of all individual agency components and offices that receive FOIA requests

      See 29 C.F.R. 1610.4 and the agency's FOIA web page at http://www.eeoc.gov/foia/contacts.html for the EEOC FOIA contacts.

    2. Brief description of the agency's response time ranges

      The average response time ranges were 10-25 working days.

    3. Brief description of why some requests are not granted

      Many FY 2004 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests received by the Commission were for materials contained in the Commission's investigative case files that involved charges of discrimination filed pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. 621-633, the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. 206(d), and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101-213. Sections 706(b) and 709(e) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5(b) and 8(e), and section 107 of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12117 prohibit Commission employees from making Title VII or ADA charges, conciliation materials, required reports and case file information public. In certain instances, parties to the charge are entitled to access to the disclosable portions of the charge file. An example of non-disclosable material in a charge file would be the internal intra-agency deliberative documents. These documents are generally withheld under the fifth exemption to the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. section 552 (b)(5).

  3. Definitions Used In The Report
    1. FOIA/PA request -- Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act request. A FOIA request is generally a request for access to records concerning a third party, an organization, or a particular topic of interest. A Privacy Act request is a request for records concerning oneself; such requests are also treated as FOIA requests.
    2. Initial Request -- a request to a federal agency for access to records under the Freedom of Information Act.
    3. Appeal -- a request to a federal agency asking that it review at a higher administrative level a full denial or partial denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Act, or any other FOIA determination such as a matter pertaining to fees.
    4. Processed Request or Appeal -- a request or appeal for which an agency has taken a final action on the request or the appeal in all respects.
    5. Multi-track processing -- a system in which simple requests requiring relatively minimal review are placed in one processing track and more voluminous and complex requests are placed in one or more other tracks. Requests in each track are processed on a first-in/first out basis. A requester who has an urgent need for records may request expedited processing (see below).
    6. Expedited processing -- an agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester has shown an exceptional need or urgency for the records which warrants prioritization of his or her request over other requests that were made earlier.
    7. Simple request -- a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in its fastest (non-expedited) track based on the volume and/or simplicity of records requested.
    8. Complex request -- a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in a slower track based on the volume and/or complexity of records requested.
    9. Grant -- an agency decision to disclose all records in full in response to a FOIA request.
    10. Partial grant -- an agency decision to disclose a record in part in response to a FOIA request, deleting information determined to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA's exemptions; or a decision to disclose some records in their entireties, but to withhold others in whole or in part.
    11. Denial -- an agency decision not to release any part of a record or records in response to a FOIA request because all the information in the requested records is determined by the agency to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA's exemptions, or for some procedural reason (such as because no record is located in response to a FOIA request).
    12. Time limits -- the time period in the Freedom of Information Act for an agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily 20 working days from proper receipt of a "perfected" FOIA request).
    13. "Perfected" request -- a FOIA request for records which adequately describes the records sought, which has been received by the FOIA office of the agency or agency component in possession of the records, and for which there is no remaining question about the payment of applicable fees.
    14. Exemption 3 statute -- a separate federal statute prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type of information and authorizing its withholding under FOIA subsection (b)(3).
    15. Median number -- the middle, not average, number. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median number is 7.
    16. Average number -- the number obtained by dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the quantity of numbers in the group. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the average number is 8.
  4. Exemption 3 Statutes

    The exemption 3 statutes relied on were sections 706(b) and 709(e) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5(b) and 8(e) and section 107 of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12117. These sections prohibit Commission employees from making Title VII or ADA charges, conciliation materials, required reports and case file information public.

    The Commission's use of the third exemption has been upheld by the courts. The landmark case supporting the Commission's position is EEOC v. Associated Dry Goods Corp., 449 U.S. 590 (1981). In FY 2004, there were three court cases involving EEOC's use of this exemption. The cases were Michael Graves v. EEOC, Civil Action No. 02-CZ-6306, Michael Graves v. EEOC, Civil Action No. 02-CZ-6842 and Michael Graves v. John Ashcroft, et.al., Civil Action No. 03-CZ-6599. All three cases are ongoing.

  5. Initial FOIA Access Requests
    1. Number of initial requests (total of the numbers in lines one and two, minus the number in line three, should equal the number in four)
      1. Number of requests pending as of end of preceding fiscal year 1,636
      2. Number of requests received during current fiscal year 17,535
      3. Number of requests processed during current fiscal year 17,485
      4. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year 1,686 (This line has also been entered on line VII.B.1.)
    2. Disposition of initial requests
      1. Number of total grants 1,109
      2. Number of partial grants 12,385
      3. Number of denials 1,427
      4. Number of times each exemption was used (counting each exemption once per request)
        1. Exemption 1 0
        2. Exemption 2 17
        3. Exemption 3 2,182
        4. Exemption 4 26
        5. Exemption 5 12,054
        6. Exemption 6 1,406
        7. Exemption 7(A) 716
        8. Exemption 7(B) 0
        9. Exemption 7(C) 1,777
        10. Exemption 7(D) 119
        11. Exemption 7(E) 27
        12. Exemption 7(F) 0
        13. Exemption 8 0
        14. Exemption 9 0
      5. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total) 2,564
        1. no records 580
        2. referrals 276
        3. request withdrawn 148
        4. fee-related reason 166
        5. records not reasonably described 19
        6. not a proper FOIA request for some other reason 256
        7. not an agency record 27
        8. duplicate request 163
        9. Others 929
          1. records destroyed 135
          2. request converted to section 83(1) 383
          3. records lost 411
  6. Appeals
    1. Number of appeals
      1. Number of appeals received during current fiscal year 415
      2. Number of appeals processed during current fiscal year 372
    2. Disposition of appeals
      1. Number Completely Upheld 176
      2. Number Partially Reversed 91
      3. Number Completely Reversed 30
      4. Number of times each exemption was used (counting each exemption once per request)
        1. Exemption 1 0
        2. Exemption 2 0
        3. Exemption 3 82
        4. Exemption 4 0
        5. Exemption 5 133
        6. Exemption 6 8
        7. Exemption 7(A) 52
        8. Exemption 7(B) 0
        9. Exemption 7(C) 63
        10. Exemption 7(D) 12
        11. Exemption 7(E) 0
        12. Exemption 7(F) 0
        13. Exemption 8 0
        14. Exemption 9 0
      5. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total) 75
        1. no records 1
        2. referrals 5
        3. request withdrawn 3
        4. fee-related reason 0
        5. records not reasonably described 0
        6. not a proper FOIA request for some other reason 25
        7. not an agency record 0
        8. duplicate request 2
        9. other 39 (remanded)
  7. Compliance With Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests
    1. Median
      1. Ordinary requests
        1. number of requests processed 17,164
        2. median number of days to process 18
      2. Complex requests
        1. number of requests processed 0
        2. median number of days to process 0
      3. Requests accorded expedited processing
        1. number of requests processed 321
        2. median number of days to process 4
    2. Status of pending requests
      1. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year 1,686 (Enter this number from line V.A.4)
      2. Median number of days that such requests were pending as of that date 15
  8. Comparison With Previous Year (Optional)
    1. Comparison of number of requests received 17,485 (+.29%)
    2. Comparison of numbers of requests processed 17,550 (- .37%)
    3. Comparison of median number of days requests were pending as of end of fiscal year 20 (-11%)
    4. Other statistics significant to agency 324 requests for expedited processing received and 321 granted
    5. Other
  9. Costs/FOIA Staffing
    1. Staffing levels.
      1. Number of full-time FOIA personnel 4
      2. Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties (in total work-years) 47.95
      3. Total number of personnel (in work-years) 51.95
    2. Total costs (including staff and all resources).
      1. FOIA processing (including appeals) $2,162,500.00
      2. Litigation-related activities (estimated) $26,759.00
      3. Total costs $2,189,259.00
      4. Comparison with previous year (optional) $1,910,866.00 (+ 14.57%)
  10. Fees
    1. Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests $69,609.00
    2. Percentage of total costs 3.22%
  11. FOIA Regulations

    EEOC FOIA regulations can be accessed on the World Wide Web at:
    http://eee.eeoc.gov/foia/1610.html

    EEOC PA regulations can be accessed on the World Wide Web at:
    http://www.eeoc.gov/foia/1611.html


Footnotes

1. Section 83 of the EEOC Compliance Manual provides for access to relevant case files by charging parties, aggrieved persons on whose behalf a charge has been filed and entities against whom charges have been filed, 29 C.F.R. 1610.17(d). FOIA requests processed by EEOC field offices are subject to review by the Regional Attorneys. FOIA requests that are converted to Section 83 can usually be processed more expeditiously and some FOIA requesters are amenable to converting their requests to Section 83 for this reason.


This page was last modified on February 1, 2005.

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