EEOC Proposes Revisions to FOIA Regulations

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)  issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) which would modify certain aspects of the EEOC's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations.  The NPRM was posted for public inspection and was published in the Federal Register on September 4, 2012.  Members of the public wishing to comment on the NPRM will have 60 days from the date of publication to do so.

The EEOC is proposing to revise its FOIA procedures at 29 CFR Part 1610 ("Availability of Records") in order to conform them to the Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government Act of 2007 (OPEN Government Act) and the Electronic FOIA Act of 1996 (E-FOIA Act).  

Pursuant to the OPEN Government Act, the NPRM clarifies that the EEOC must observe FOIA response time deadlines even where a FOIA request is received by the wrong FOIA Office.  Also in accordance with the OPEN Government Act, the NPRM provides that the EEOC will issue acknowledgement letters upon receipt of all FOIA requests.  The NPRM specifies that, as required by the E-FOIA Act, FOIA information produced by EEOC also will be made available in electronic format.  The agency further proposes to adopt a three-track FOIA processing system.  Such a multi-tracking system is permitted by the E-FOIA Act.  Consistent with current EEOC practice, the NPRM transfers responsibility for FOIA requests from regional attorneys to district directors.  Finally, the agency proposes to consolidate its public reading area services in its headquarters and district offices.

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