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I. Introduction

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, a disclosure statute, provides that every person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information. Federal agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), are required to disclose records upon receiving a written request for them, with the exception of records that are protected from disclosure by the nine exemptions and three exclusions of the FOIA. This right of access is enforceable in court. All states have their own statutes governing public access to state and local records, and state authorities should be consulted for further information concerning their statutes.

This reference guide is designed to familiarize you with the specific procedures for making a FOIA request to the EEOC. The process is neither complicated nor time-consuming. Following the guidance below will make it more likely that you will receive the information you are seeking in the shortest amount of time. This guide also includes descriptions of the types of records maintained by the EEOC, some of which are available through means other than the FOIA.

Other general sources of information about how to make a FOIA request include:

  • "Your Right to Federal Records," available for one dollar per copy from the Consumer Information Center, P.O. Box 100, Pueblo, CO 81002. This publication also can be accessed at http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/fed_prog/foia/foia.htm
  • "A Citizen's Guide on Using the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act of 1974 to Request Government Records." This report is published by the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight of the House of Representatives. It is available for sale from the U.S. Government Printing Office, stock number 052-071-012-30-3, and can be accessed at http://www.fas.org/sgp/foia/citizen.html.

The formal rules for making a FOIA request to the EEOC are found in Part 1610 of Volume 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.), 29 C.F.R. § 1610. The regulations may also be found on the EEOCís web site at http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/29cfr1610_03.html. A copy of § 1610 of C.F.R. may also be obtained from the EEOC, Library, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20507. In most cases, this reference guide will provide you with the basic information that you will need.