Employers can now electronically monitor and respond to EEOC charges of discrimination via a secure online portal. This means employers can receive updates and transmit information to the EEOC much more quickly than in the past. The EEOC’s Online Charge Status System is now available and can be accessed at http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge_status.cfm. This system also allows charging parties to electronically monitor the status their charge. The EEOC piloted this system last year in a select number of EEOC offices. Now, the system provides electronic access to current information on charges filed on or after September 2, 2015 with EEOC offices nationwide. The online system is not available for charges filed before this date or for charges filed with the EEOC’s state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies.This online system may result in a faster resolution of charges. But, the online system may also lead to an increase in the number of charges filed. Employers should review their policies and practices to ensure they can quickly and effectively respond to charges.

Given the EEOC’s new policy of handing over employers’ positions statements and supporting documents to charging parties, employers must take extra care in handling confidential information. Since a “cause” finding by the EEOC can result in serious consequences, employers may want to consider whether to consult outside counsel in the process.