W2 Issues/Concerns


Check out our weekly blog posts and see the latest news and discussions happening in the HR world of business.

EEOC can Come on Site Without Permission, Lawsuit Says

Chances are, we have all at some point or another felt that the EEOC at times oversteps its bounds. Now, the US District Court is backing up these assertions by recently ruling that the EEOC can, generally, conduct on-site investigations of harassment and discrimination claims and it doesn’t need your permission or a warrant to do so.

The ruling stems from a case involving Kentucky steel manufacturing facility, Nucor Steel Gallatin. In the lawsuit, the steel makers rescinded a job offer to an applicant after he failed a post-offer, pre-employment medical exam. The applicant subsequently filed a disability discrimination charge with the EEOC, who then launched an investigation which included issuing a request for information. Although Gallatin complied with the request, the EEOC investigator said the next step in the process was to perform an on-site visit to conduct interviews with individuals believed to have information relevant to the claims. For it’s part, Gallatin responded that it did not believe the “onsite is necessary or relevant to your investigation,” and suggested that such interviews could take place at an offsite location. 

Apparently, that was the wrong answer. The EEOC issued a subpoena requiring Gallatin to permit on-site access to conduct interviews, examine the facility and obtain or request any additional info pertaining to the position to which the applicant applied. Gallatin filed a petition to revoke and/or modify the subpoena which the EEOC denied, and then Gallatin informed the agency that it wouldn’t consent to an on-site visit. The EEOC then petitioned the district court to order Gallatin to show why it shouldn’t be compelled to comply with the subpoena.

For its part, Gallatin argued that it provided the EEOC with more than enough information concerning the allegations, but the court countered that the agency couldn’t merely accept employer declarations as true without seeing things for itself. The steel manufacturer also claimed that the on-site visit would be irrelevant and disruptive to business, but the court noted that an on-site investigation would determine the requirements of the job and that Gallatin hadn’t adequately explained how the site visit would be disruptive.  The court also shot down a suggestion by Gallatin that permitting the EEOC to enter the facility would create a safety issue, but the court noted that the EEOC was well-equipped to take reasonable precautions before inspecting facilities, but did rule in favor of Gallatin that the subpoena was a little too broad and requested that the EEOC narrow the focus of its inspection to the areas directly relevant to the position.’

The lesson in all of this is that when it comes to an EEOC investigation, they are likely to be permitted to be onsite, but you as the employer can take steps to limit the scope of their on-site visit to include only those issues previously identified in a complaint.


HR Managers: Discover how to effectively tackle business challenges with a PEO
Small Business: Discover how Abel HR can help your business.

Featured BLOGS

  • FMLA: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?

    As we’ve mentioned before, HR professionals love to use acronyms. One that you might hear getting tossed around a lot is “FMLA.” But what is it? Who can use it and under what circumstances? And how on earth do you go about applying for it? What is FMLA? FMLA stands for the Family and Medical Leave Act. This federal law was passed in 1993 and is designed to allow eligible workers to “take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons,” according to the Department of Labor (DOL). Specifically, the act covers an employee to take up to 12 weeks

  • Analyzing the Dreaded Task of Benefits Shopping

    Each year, you get the notice that it’s time to select your benefits offerings for the year. And each year, you probably put it off until the last possible moment for a variety of reasons: It’s overwhelming, it’s boring, it’s not a priority, and the good ol’ “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” However, if you don’t shop for benefits, you could be missing out! As a business owner, you might be forgoing some obvious cost savings, or even just a more cost-efficient benefits package. But looking beyond the obvious, you could also be skipping out on an opportunity


FSA | Commuter New Employee Abel Portal Time Clock