Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Seventh Circuit Enforces EEOC's Subpoena Powers

The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently upheld the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) expansive subpoena powers in EEOC v. Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc., No. 10-1239 (7th Cir. Apr. 29, 2011). In Konica the EEOC, during the course of its investigation, through information produced by Konica that relatively few African Americans were employed at the facility where the charging party worked or at other locations in the Chicago area. In addition, the information provided by Konica suggested to the EEOC that the majority of the African American sales persons at the charging party's facility were on the same sales team. As a result, the EEOC requested and ultimately subpoenaed Konica records relating to its hiring practices for sales personnel at all of Konica's Chicago-area facilities. Konica asked the EEOC to revoke the subpoena and, when the EEOC refused, notified the EEOC that it was refusing to comply. Konica argued that the hiring data was irrelevant to the charge, which was directed at terms and conditions of employment and termination. The EEOC then filed an application with the federal court for an order enforcing the subpoena which was upheld and the 7th Circuit affirmed.

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