For a public document, it sure is kept like a secret.  You won’t find it on the internet.  And unless you knew it existed, you wouldn’t know where to look.

Until now.

After a Freedom of Information Act request, the Connecticut Employment Law Blog has obtained the 2010 Worksharing Agreement between the EEOC and the CHRO for Fiscal Year 2010 dated October 2, 2009 (download here) .  I made this request following a dinner with EEOC officials last week.  

What’s so important about this document? The Worksharing Agreement outlines how each agency will handle intake of discrimination charges and which agency has jurisdiction over what. It also dictates the procedures that will be followed for each.

For example, on page 2, it states that "Normally, once an agency take [sic] a charge or begins an investigation, it resolves the charge". What this means is that if a party files at the EEOC (even with charges that are state-based), the investigation will remain with the EEOC. Similarly, if it starts with the CHRO, it will stay with the CHRO.  However, there are also procedures to ensure that complaints will be dual-filed in the other agency. 

The Agreement also provides that the CHRO "waives its right of exclusive jurisdiction to initially process such charges".  That means that the EEOC can proceed immediately with a processing any new complaints that are filed with that agency. 

For employers, understanding the process may allow the employer to attack the way that a case may be being handled.  Indeed, an employer should ask — is the process being followed correctly in my particular case?  (For employees, the worksharing agreement provides a path to getting complaints handled in a way other than through the CHRO.)  

I call on the CHRO and the EEOC to publish this document on their respective websites. Although it is a "public" document, there’s no good reason why it is kept in a not-so-public fashion.   Understanding how both agencies function (and the interrelationship between the two) is vital to building confidence in each of those agencies.