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X. Initial Request Determination

Once your request has been processed, you will be sent a written initial determination.In many cases, the EEOC will include any documents that can be disclosed along with the determination letter.However, where a fee has been assessed, the documents will be sent within a reasonable time after the fee has been paid.

The FOIA provides access to all federal agency records (or portions of those records), except for those that are withheld under nine exemptions and three exclusions (reasons for which an agency may withhold records from a requester). These exemptions will be discussed in more detail in the next section. The determination letter will advise you whether any information is being withheld pursuant to one or more of the exemptions.When pages are being withheld in their entirety, the EEOC usually either will specify the number of pages being withheld or will make a reasonable effort to estimate the amount of the withheld information.  When records are being disclosed with redactions, the EEOC will indicate at the site of the redaction the amount of information redacted and the exemption used to withhold the information.

The vast majority of requests received by the EEOC are for charge files. They are ordinarily not available under FOIA to anyone other than the charging party, respondent, or their counsel. Even the charging party and respondent may not be entitled to the files if EEOC has not terminated its proceedings on the charge or if the time for filing a lawsuit has expired.Specific documents contained in a file may be withheld from the charging party or respondent if they are privileged or disclosure would invade personal privacy or reveal a confidential informant's identity.