Testing, testing 1-2-3: The EEOC Launches Phase I of Digital Pilot Program

On May 6, 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that 11 of its 53 offices will begin a pilot program “ACT Digital.”  ACT Digital is the first step in the EEOC’s efforts to transition to a digital charge system whereby the parties to a charge and the EEOC will be able to electronically transmit documents in connection with Charges of Discrimination.  The first phase of the program allows the EEOC and employer-respondent to digitally transmit communications through a secure portal. Available functions include viewing and downloading the charge of discrimination, reviewing an invitation to mediate and providing a response, submitting a position statement, verifying contact information, and enabling communication between the EEOC and respondents.  While the EEOC does provide an option for employers to opt-out of the digital system and continue to use a paper system instead, it contends “that the digital system will provide for faster access and submission of documents, as well as notifications to the EEOC staff to improve communication with the EEOC.”  Currently, system access and communication are not available to the Charging Party,though the EEOC indicates this is an option it will be exploring in the future.  According to the EEOC’s website, the pilot began May 6, 2015 in Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Norfolk, Raleigh, Richmond, and San Francisco.  Additionally, EEOC offices in Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Phoenix will begin their pilots by the end of May 2015.  The EEOC anticipates that the system will be available in all offices by October 1, 2015.

Sources: “EEOC Takes First Steps in Digital Charge System”, located at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/5-6-15.cfm (last accessed on May 17, 2015); “Questions and Answers on Phase I of ACT Digital, EEOC’s Digital Charge System”, located at http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/act-digital-qanda.cfm (last accessed on May 17, 2015).