The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) online filing portal, (or Public Portal), was just rolled out across the country. As of November 1, individuals will be able to begin discrimination charges against employers using an online Portal, Online Inquiry and Appointment System (OIAS).
In March, the EEOC began a test program for the Portal in five cities across the country. They seemed to be pleased with the results, so they instituted it to everyone on November 1.
The system is not a carte blanche system allowing individuals to directly file charges against employers, instead, it is another way for them to take the initial step and to navigate through the process. They can only file a discrimination charge with an EEOC representative’s guidance. The EEOC explained that the use of OIAS did not even guarantee the agency would file a charge, but it was a place to start.
One can use the website to ask about potential bias claims and then to electronically sign and file the discrimination charges (again with help from an EEOC Representative). The agency says the portal enables workers to carry out the first steps necessary to file a charge of discrimination in a digital format: asking questions of EEOC representatives about whether their employment rights have been violated, and going through the complaint intake process.
The new system also allows users to perform various administrative tasks associated with their charge of discrimination, such as updating their personal information, uploading documents that could be used to support their charge, track the status of their charge, or agree to a conciliation process.
EEOC’s Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic says, “It’s a giant leap forward for the EEOC in providing online services.”
Is it all bad for employers? Maybe not. Employers will have access to the EEOC’s Respondent Portal allowing them electronic access to the agency for certain functions associated with the discrimination charge process.
We at KardasLarson are here for you if you need help before, during, or after such a complaint is filed – on the Portal or the old-fashioned way. Give us a call earlier rather than later for the best results.