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PRESS RELEASE
10-23-17

EEOC Issues Final Rule To Modify FOIA Regulations

Changes Will Affect Certain FOIA Procedures, Federal Agency Says

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has finalized an update of its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) procedures by issuing a Final Rule in the Federal Register on Sept. 28, the federal agency announced today. The EEOC's Interim Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 29, 2016, and the public was invited to issue comments for 30 days.

The EEOC's Interim Rule revised its FOIA procedures at 29 CFR Part 1610 ("Availability of Records") in order to conform them to the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016.

The FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, among other things, codifies the presumption of openness; limits the FOIA exemption for agency communications, (b)(5), to allow the disclosure of agency records created 25 years or more before the date of a FOIA request; and creates a Chief FOIA Officer Council co-chaired by the Office of Information Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Office of Government Information Services at the National Archives and Records Administration.

The revisions to the statute require federal agencies do the following: provide the FOIA requesters with notice that they have of a minimum of 90 days to appeal from an adverse determination and a right to seek dispute resolution assistance from the agency FOIA Public Liaison and the Office of Government Information Service (OGIS); make disclosable records and documents available for public inspection in an electronic format; make available for inspection in an electronic format records that have been requested three or more times (frequently requested records); submit an agency annual report to the attorney general and to the director of OGIS; make raw annual report statistical data electronically available for public inspection; not charge a fee for providing records when the agency misses a deadline for complying with a FOIA request unless unusual circumstances apply and more than 5,000 pages are necessary to respond to the request; and disclose information requested under FOIA exemption (b)(5) unless the agency reasonably foresees that such disclosure would harm an interest protected by a FOIA exemption or disclosure is prohibited by law, and consider partial disclosures, and take steps to segregate and release nonexempt information.

The regulations can be viewed at: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/foia/resources.cfm .

For more information about EEOC's FOIA Program, please visit http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/foia/index.cfm

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.